Exclusive: Xbox, Nintendo and Sony will not be part of E3 2023

E3’s first physical event in four years was meant to be a triumphant return for the show – an opportunity to recapture some of the excitement of past conventions, which have historically been hallmark events for the video game industry.

However, it looks like when E3 2023 hits the Los Angeles Convention Center in June, it will be without three of its most important draws. IGN has heard from multiple knowledgeable sources that Xbox, Sony, and Nintendo will not be part of E3 2023 or present at the Los Angeles Convention Center trade show.

This information follows Xbox announcing last week that it would return to Los Angeles for its annual summer showcase while declining to confirm whether it would be part of the show itself.

Speaking to IGN last week, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer said the platform holder was timing its showcase with E3 at a “convenient time for press and even consumers” during the event. event, which means it is likely to roughly align with the event itself. Spencer also highlighted Xbox’s public support for E3 and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). However, IGN understands that Xbox will not have a booth at the show.

“E3 is just, for me, one of the highlight moments in gaming. I love the story of going down to LA, thousands of people there, seeing some great new things… seeing people in the industry, the fan events we’ve had. I really want this to continue,” Spencer said.

“Xbox is on the ESA board, and I think a successful and healthy ESA is critical to what we’re trying to do. So we’re placing our showcase, as we always have, at a time when hopefully it’s convenient for press and even consumers going to the E3 event, and that’s what we’re trying to do now We will continue to work with the ESA regarding their plans. Like I said, we’re on the board, and we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help make E3 a success.”

Xbox’s current plans for the showcase remain unconfirmed, but in previous years it has hosted a showcase, preview events, and press mixers. Internally, Xbox has recently suffered layoffs and other cuts, forcing it to tighten its belt after a year that saw virtually no major releases.

Xbox’s decision not to have an official presence on the E3 showfloor comes as a surprise given its support for the event in the past. Of the so-called “Big Three”, he seemed the most likely to be at E3, not least because he has several major releases to promote in 2023, including Starfield

Nintendo has also traditionally maintained a stand on the E3 showfloor even after pioneering the “Direct” format. However, IGN has heard from industry sources that neither Nintendo nor Sony will be at E3 2023, with PlayStation initially dropping out in 2019 due to reported disagreements with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). It’s currently unclear whether Nintendo and Sony intend to time a showcase with the event.

Representatives for Nintendo, Sony, Xbox and the ESA did not return requests for comment at press time. ReedPop provided the following statement.

E3 is such an important event for the gaming industry and being entrusted with an important cultural touchstone is not a responsibility ReedPop takes lightly. Since ReedPop accepted the execution contract for E3 six months ago, we have worked diligently with ESA members based on their feedback to create a new kind of E3 that meets their goals. and their needs.

This process took time due to the sheer number of stakeholders who provided input, although we appreciate that we could have been more transparent about the questions for which we were still finalizing responses. We continue to work tirelessly to create a spectacle that brings the global gaming industry together. We believe we have created a new format for the event that meets the needs of the industry and its fans, and we are committed to building it and develop it in the years to come.

While we spent much of 2022 fine-tuning the shape E3 2023 would take, reflecting on the feedback we solicited, we didn’t send a single contract to an exhibitor until early this month. We’ve received tremendous interest and verbal commitments from many of the biggest companies in the industry, and when we’re ready to announce exhibitors, we’re confident this will be a lineup that will make the trip to Los Angeles is worth it for industry and consumers.

“A blow for E3”

The news has the potential to be a blow to E3, which is trying to recover with the help of events company ReedPop, Ampere analyst Piers Harding-Rolls told IGN. “The show will definitely miss the buzz and scale of platform media.”

While Microsoft has already confirmed a summer showcase, Rolls says it’s “likely the Xbox buzz will radiate through E3.” However, the uncertainty around Nintendo in particular could put a damper on things.

“It’s unfortunate that the physical event is returning as Nintendo is at the end of Switch’s lifecycle, with no sign of a next-gen device this year,” Rolls said. “I’m not sure there will be a lot of games to show this year, so it makes sense to skip.”

As for Sony, Rolls observed that it’s been skipping big events “for several cycles now.”

“That doesn’t stop him from having some sort of online storefront in the same window, but based on recent history, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to hear that he’s also considering skipping the E3 2023,” he explains. “All three companies have an effective online storefront strategy, which gives them good flexibility to mix and match their promotional activity during, before or after major traditional events.”

According to a well-informed source, there have been “continued frustrations” with ESA over the past three years, which they say have “incredibly mismanaged the E3 brand over the past three years”. They corroborated other IGN sources saying that several major E3 organizers left ESA, “leaving a new group sweeping after them”, and criticized ReedPop’s handling of the event.

The source claims that ReedPop began reaching out to publishers about E3 last fall while promising to book spots in December. But with less than six months until E3, the sources say there is “a lot of missing information”.

There’s not a good sense that there’s an understanding of what this show is going to be or how it’s going to pan out, which is odd from a company that does such amazing work with PAX two times a year.

“There’s no good idea there’s an understanding of what this show is going to be or how it’s going to pan out, which is odd from a company that does such amazing work with PAX. twice a year,” they told IGN. “It seemed like they would be the perfect shepherds for something like E3. So who knows where the problem is: is it an ESA problem? Is it a ReedPop problem? having a lot of genuine interest from game publishers in the E3 concept, but it’s really frustrating not having good solutions.”

With little clarity about whether E3 will represent a good return on investment, and the tech space more uncertain than ever, many publishers seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach for E3 2023, at least for now.

“The flow of information hasn’t been great. I don’t think anyone wants to be the first out?” The IGN source claimed, which corroborates other conversations we’ve had in the industry.

The ESA confirmed last year that E3 2023 would be held from June 13-16, with June 15-16 being “E3 Gamer Days” open to the public. It is organized in collaboration with ReedPop, the company responsible for Star Wars Celebration, New York Comic Con and PAX [Disclosure: I am a former ReedPop employee, where I was in charge of running the now-defunct USgamer until 2020].

Events tried to recover from the hammer blow of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw major events canceled across the gaming industry and beyond. E3 sought to join Gamescom, PAX and other mainstream events in returning in 2022, but was ultimately cancelled.

This year will finally see the event return, but with digital showcases more prevalent than ever and big first parties unlikely to appear, it may be a while before E3 returns to anything close. of his former stature.

This article has been updated with a statement from ReedPop.

Kat Bailey is senior news writer at IGN and co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Do you have any advice? DM him at @the_katbot.

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