The ESA president and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis gave an interview explaining why E3 2023 was canceled. He largely attributed E3 2023's demise to a combination of publishers adjusting their marketing plans due to changes in the economy and deciding to run their own digital showcases. Covid-19 also played a part, Pierre-Louis added, in changing game development timelines.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Pierre-Louis said," We were off to a strong start. There was interest among exhibitors, industry players, media and certainly the fans. Ultimately, however, there were challenges that proved too large to surmount."
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"First, several companies have reported that the timeline for game development has been altered since the start of the COVID pandemic. Second, economic headwinds have caused several companies to reassess how they invest in large marketing events. And third, companies are starting to experiment with how to find the right balance between in-person events and digital marketing opportunities," Pierre-Louis concluded.
Pierre-Louis did not confirm whether or not E3 will return in 2024. How E3 will change going forward was also something Pierre-Louis did not have an answer for at this time.
He acknowledged that the marketing needs of publishers are changing, something the ESA is looking for a way to accommodate.
"It's a matter of finding the right pitch… for the needs that are evolving. [Publishers are] continuing to experiment with how they market their works," said Pierre-Louis. "We're seeing other shows coming back slowly, but coming back. They're at a different scale and investment commitment than E3 so we have to continue to work on how we create a dynamic and sustainable model that meets the needs of the industry."
ReedPop and the ESA announced E3 2023's cancellation after months of uncertainty surrounding the event. Big publishers like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo said they'd skip the event, and just recently, Ubisoft also said it was pulling out in favor of holding its own Ubisoft Forward showcase.
This doesn't sound like the end for E3, as Pierre-Louis said in the interview, "We remain committed to providing a platform for industry marketing and convening but we want to make sure we find the right balance for the industry's current and on-going needs."
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