Now that E3 has been officially cancelled due to concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, video games companies are now actively looking for alternatives. In a statement, the Entertainment Software Association said today that it was "exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020,” but Microsoft was apparently one of the first to announce its plans today.
E3 has always been an important moment for Team Xbox. Given this decision, this year we'll celebrate the next generation of gaming with the @Xbox community and all who love to play via an Xbox digital event. Details on timing and more in the coming weeks https://t.co/xckMKBPf9h
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) March 11, 2020
A couple of minutes ago, Xbox head Phil Spencer announced that Microsoft will “celebrate the next generation of gaming” in an upcoming Xbox digital event. There are no more details yet, but the Xbox team is now used to digital events with its ongoing series of Inside Xbox livestreams. Unlike Sony, Microsoft has already revealed the designs and specs of its new console, the Xbox Series X. Some important details have yet to be revealed including pricing and launch dates, and those could be revealed during this upcoming digital event. We also hope to see Microsoft reveal Xbox Series X gameplay footage, especially since this new console generation should be a much more significant leap compared to the last one.
Microsoft likely won't be the only game publisher to hold a digital event in replacement for their E3 presence this year. Kotaku Editor in Chief Stephen Totilo pointed out today that Nintendo had a forward-thinking approach with its online shows during E3, and so does Sony with its much-anticipated "State of Play" livestreams.
As a reminder: Actual E3 is the show held in the Los Angeles Convention Center. But for many gamers, E3 is more about the game showcases in the days preceding it, and we don't know the fate of those. Nintendo's was already online-only. I assume others could and will follow suit. https://t.co/xxq4HuDGE4
— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) March 11, 2020
With a new console generation incoming, the cancellation of E3 2020 is really unfortunate for the video games industry, and we shouldn't underestimate the business side of the annual trade show with many game studios meeting with publishers and making deals during the event. It will be interesting to see if the Entertainment Software Association will be able to bring back E3 next year, but big game publishers may well decide to do their own thing going forward.