E3 is without a doubt the largest and most significant expo in the gaming industry. The trade event, which began in 1995, continued without interruption for 24 years until 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced its cancellation. 2023 will mark the first E3 physical event in four years.
However, IGN has learned from multiple sources that Sony, Xbox, and Nintendo will not attend the event. The showcase is customarily held in June at the Los Angeles Convention Center and has always seen at least two of the three leading console manufacturers have a presence on the show floor. Sony is the only one that hasn't been at E3 since 2018.
Organized by the ESA (Entertainment Software Association), E3 2023 will take place from June 13–16 and will be produced by ReedPop. The latter is known for producing PAX festivals, EGX, New York Comic Con, and Star Wars Celebration.
Nintendo made the decision to forego the event this year, citing a paucity of major releases compared to previous years. Meanwhile, Xbox will miss the event since it coincides with their scheduled showcase, which will also be in Los Angeles. Phil Spencer, the CEO of Xbox, provided clarification on the company's absence, saying:
E3 is just, to me, one of the seminal moments of gaming. I love the history of going down to LA, thousands of people there, getting to see great new things...getting to see people in the industry, the fan events that we've had. I definitely want that to continue.
Xbox is on the board of the ESA, and I think a successful and healthy ESA is critical to what we're trying to go do. So we place our showcase, like we always have done, at a time where hopefully it's convenient for press and even consumers that are going to the E3 event, and that's what we're trying to do now. We will continue to work with ESA in terms of their plans. As I said, we're on the board, and we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to help make the E3 successful.
In the case of Sony, that's not particularly surprising given that the console manufacturer missed the most recent physical E3 event in 2019 and had declared its intention to forgo the event in 2020 before it was canceled. According to numerous accounts, Sony's absence was a result of disagreements with the ESA.
It remains to be seen how ReedPop plans to approach the event without the "Big 3."
Here is a statement released by the event producer:
E3 is such a significant event for the game industry and being entrusted with an important cultural touchstone is not a responsibility ReedPop takes lightly. Since ReedPop took on the contract to run E3 six months ago, we've worked diligently with ESA members based on their feedback to create a new type of E3 that supports their goals and needs.
This process has taken time due to the tremendous amount of stakeholders offering input, though we appreciate that we could have been more transparent to questions for which we were still finalizing the answers. We continue to work tirelessly to create a show that brings together the global gaming industry. We believe we’ve created a new format for the event that serves the needs of both the industry and its fans, and are committed to building and growing it in the coming years.
As we spent much of 2022 refining how E3 2023 would take shape, reflecting on the feedback we solicited, we did not send a single contract to an exhibitor until the start of this month. We have received a tremendous amount of interest and verbal commitments from many of the biggest companies in the industry, and when we are ready to announce the exhibitors we are confident it will be a lineup that will make the trip to Los Angeles well worth it for the industry and consumers alike.
The Xbox showcase will be eagerly anticipated by gamers hoping to learn more regarding the upcoming Bethesda RPG, Starfield. The game's delay from its intended release date of November 11 of last year to some time within the first half of 2023 was confirmed by Starfield director, Todd Howard. It's very likely that Sony and Nintendo will follow suit and have their own showcases concurrently with the E3 event.
E3 2023 will be completely redesigned, as ReedPop revealed last year. According to the new format, the first two days (June 13–14) will only be accessible to businesses, while the next two days (June 15–16) will be open to both enterprises and consumers, with the final day being solely devoted to consumers.