Last year, the Entertainment Software Association said that they were planning on making E3 2022 a hybrid digital and physical event. However, COVID-19 has a way of making fools of us all. Today, the ESA announced that E3 2022 will once again be online-only thanks to the ongoing pandemic.
“Due to the ongoing health risks surrounding COVID-19 and its potential impact on the safety of exhibitors and attendees, E3 will not be held in person in 2022,” the ESA said in a statement to GamesBeat. “We remain incredibly excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon.”
Those concerns over safety are largely being driven by the surge in COVID cases brought on by the Omicron variant. The United States recently set a world record for reporting over a million confirmed cases in a single day thanks to the Omicron variant, with similar local case records being set in many countries around the world.
This will be the second year that E3 takes place as a virtual event. Last year's event was essentially a week of extended online presentations as publishers all did their best to put on a show. The year before that, the ESA decided to pull the plug entirely on hosting anything for E3 as publishers and event organizers simply didn't have enough time to shift everything online.
Although the announcement comes today, there's some question whether the decision might have been made much earlier. Author and games business analyst Mike Futter wrote a Twitter post that reported sources saying the ESA had actually abandoned hosting E3 at the LA Convention Center last November, well before the current Omicron surge.
So far, publishers have yet to confirm whether they'll attend this year's virtual event. But with all the practice they received last year, perhaps this year's digital presentations will be even more impressive.
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