E3 2020 Cancelled: ESA Confirms Cancellation Amid Coronavirus Fears

The ESA will reportedly cancel E3 2020 on Wednesday.
The ESA will reportedly cancel E3 2020 on Wednesday. / Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, the biggest video game conference of the year, will be cancelled Wednesday for fear of the expanding coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, Ars Technica reports.

The Electronic Software Association, which runs E3 yearly, had previously stated E3 would continue as planned despite concerns around COVID-19's spread. The organization is now expected to announce the cancellation officially at 12:30 p.m. ET, Bloomberg reports.

Per one anonymous Ars Technica source, the announcement was originally to take place Tuesday. They did not share a reason for the delay, saying only that it "had slipped."

Despite its history as a tentpole video game function, delivering major reveals from the industry's top developers, publishers and manufacturers, E3's relevance has waned in recent years. Giants such as Sony and Nintendo had already decided to step away from the event, as had collaborators including Geoff Keighley and creative directors Iam8bit, and a leak that exposed thousands of journalists' personal information further undermined its credibility among the press.

E3 is far from the first major blow to video games caused by the spread of COVID-19. Events across the industry, including GDC 2020, have been forced to cancel or reschedule as a result of the virus. Esports events such as Riot Games' League of Legends Champions Korea have also been indefinitely suspended, rescheduled or moved.

UPDATE 3/11/20, 11:40 a.m. ET: The ESA confirmed the cancellation in an official statement to GameSpot. The organization says it will be in touch with exhibitors and attendees regarding refunds, and is exploring options for hosting a fully virtual show instead of the cancelled live event. This article's headline has been updated to reflect this news. Read the ESA's statement below.

"After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry--our fans, our employees, our exhibitors and our longtime E3 partners--we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020, scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles," reads the statement.

"Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters. But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today."