E3, citing Omicron concerns, won’t return to Los Angeles this summer

The video game extravaganza that is the Electronic Entertainment Expo, colloquially known as E3, will forgo an in-person event at the Los Angeles Convention Center for the third summer in a row. The trade group that represents major players in the video game industry cited the threat posed by the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

But the news, first reported on GamesBeat, also comes as the weeklong gala, held in June, is sort of at a crossroads.

“Due to the lingering health risks from COVID-19 and its potential impact on the safety of exhibitors and attendees, E3 will not take place in person in 2022,” reads a statement from a door – speech of E3. “We remain incredibly excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon.”

E3 typically brings together more than 65,000 fans and industry professionals to the Los Angeles Convention Center and surrounding events each summer.

While the merits of E3 have become a topic of media debate in recent years – especially with some big game companies, including Sony Interactive Entertainment, who have opted out of the event – the loss of the convention this year is a big blow to los angeles. . Last week, Sony unveiled a preview of its new virtual reality headset, the PSVR 2, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which was held in person despite the Omicron push.

While E3 has struggled in recent years to attract some of the biggest players in the industry – Electronic Arts, for example, held its own festival in Hollywood the same week as Expo – the loss of E3 leaves a big gap in the summer convention calendar for Los Angeles. The business group has said in the past that it generates more than $ 88 million in revenue for the city, and its opening day in 2019, the last time it was held, was marked by a ceremony to inauguration with Mayor Eric Garcetti.

During the pandemic, the online Summer Game Fest, led by Game Awards founder Geoff Keighley, largely supplanted the E3 spotlight. The four-day E3 online-only gala in 2021 was low on video game razzmatazz, and the buzz was spread between the two trailer preview-focused events.

At the time, I wished neither of the two events would return in an online-only form, writing, “six hours of daily viewing on YouTube is way more exhausting than 18-hour days spent running around downtown. city ​​of Los Angeles at a convention. Combine a lack of face-to-face, in-person conversation, along with the inability to play a game, and the message is one of bland promotion. “

What form E3 would have taken in 2022 is unknown, however, as it joins this month’s postponed Grammy Awards and the now-only virtual Sundance Film Festival, along with many other events affected by Omicron.

However, the games industry may not be without in-person events in 2022. As of this writing, the Game Developers Conference is still scheduled to return to San Francisco for a week-long rally in late March.

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