E3 2020 now totally cancelled as plans for online event fall through

(Image credit: ESA)

The final nail has been hammered into the coffin of E3 2020. With the physical annual gaming showcase event, set to be held June, cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic, organisers at the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) have now pulled the plug on plans for an online alternative, too.

The reasoning? It seems with so many developers and publishers planning to hold their own online livestreams and reveals, the ESA's involvement has become a bit irrelevant.

"Given the disruption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be presenting an online E3 2020 event in June," an ESA spokesperson said speaking to PC Gamer

"Instead, we will be working with exhibitors to promote and showcase individual company announcements, including on www.E3expo.com, in the coming months.

"We look forward to bringing our industry and community together in 2021 to present a reimagined E3 that will highlight new offerings and thrill our audiences."

A crucial year for E3

The 2020 E3 event was set to be a pivotal one, for multiple reasons. 

In terms of what was set to be on show, we'd have likely got our first glimpse at developers' wares for the new PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles, with Microsoft hosting a big next-gen preview – even if Sony declined to attend with the PlayStation 5.

The ESA also needed to win back the trust of attendees following last year's data breach which leaked personal details of those working at the event. On top of that, with developers increasingly hosting their own game reveals throughout the year, the importance of E3 as a marketing tool has diminished.

And so, all eyes now turn to E3 2021. The ESA in its statement promises a thrilling and "reimagined" return next year. We'll wait with bated breath to see what that actually means.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of iMore.com. Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.