Since its first event was held in 1995, E3 earned a reputation for being the biggest video game news event of the year, home to surprise announcements and shock reveals. E3 was held every year from 1995 to 2020 when its streak was broken by the COVID-19 pandemic. E3 2020 was canceled and then E3 2021 was held as a digital-only event. The plan was to bring E3 back in full force for the 2022 event, but it seems those plans have been derailed.
As reported by VentureBeat, E3 2022 in June will no longer be an in-person event and will instead by online-only. This decision was made due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as the Omicron variant has fueled a spike in hospitalizations and deaths. While some may think it’s still too early for E3 to make the call to switch to an online-only event, it seems like this makes the most sense so gaming companies don’t spend money preparing for E3 booths that never materialize. It’s possible the COVID situation will be much improved come June, but it’s just as likely that Omicron or a new variant will still be keeping life from getting back to normal, so E3 organizers are taking a cautious approach.
It’s unclear who will all be involved in E3 2022, but it’s likely that the usual suspects will all have something to show at this year’s event. Last year’s E3 included presentations by Ubisoft, Gearbox Software, Microsoft, Square Enix, the PC Gaming Show, Capcom, and Nintendo, and smart money is that these companies will all be back for E3 2022 as well. That being said, it’s also possible that they will decide to host their own instead, like how Sony has skipped E3 in recent years.
There were many E3-adjacent events that took place last year, and it’s likely that many of those will return in 2022 as well. For example, Electronic Arts will likely host an E3-equivalent video presentation of some kind, and it’s already been confirmed Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest is returning in 2022. Needless to say, June should be just as full of big new game announcements as it usually is, even with E3 being an online-only event for the second year in a row.
It will be interesting to see if E3 2023 marks E3’s grand return to being a massive in-person event or if the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to keep people at home. Time will tell, but for now, gamers can look forward to E3 2022 being an online-only event.