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ESA Lost $10 Million in Revenue Canceling E3 2020

E3 is a major revenue opportunity for the ESA.
E3 is a major revenue opportunity for the ESA. / SOPA Images/GettyImages

The Entertainment Software Association lost $10 million in expected revenue after canceling E3 2020, Axios reported Thursday.

In reviewing the ESA's tax filings for the year ended March 31, 2021, Axios found the organization made $40 million in revenue. That represents a $10 million decline year-on-year, roughly 25% of the organization's total revenue.

E3 is a major source of the organization's income. In 2019, the convention brought in $17 million in revenue against $12 million in full-year convention and meeting costs. The organization also makes money charging games companies for ratings from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (the ESRB, which the ESA operates), and from member fees paid by 30 of the biggest companies in gaming.

Members of the organization include Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Electronic Arts and Tencent among others. Although fees are not disclosed, Activision paid $680,000 in 2021, per a filing by that company review by Axios.

In addition to operating the ESRB and E3, the ESA lobbies U.S. legislators on behalf of the industry. It spent $2.5 million on that lobbying in the year ending March 31, 2021, plus several million more advocating for issues like IP rights, child safety, STEM education and free speech.

E3 went digital in 2021, but the ESA canceled the 2022 iteration in the face of rising COVID-19 cases. The next installment will be organized by Comic Con and PAX organizer ReedPop, and is scheduled for June 2023.