Image: E3

E3 will finally return in full force next year, according to ESA president and CEO Stan Pierre-Louis, who confirmed to The Washington Post in a new interview that the world’s most recognizable trade event for the gaming industry would be back as “both a digital and an in-person event.” The show had been canceled in 2020 due to lockdowns prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, and while it made a slight return in the form of an online-only event in 2021, the ESA opted to fully cancel its plans again for the current year due to ongoing COVID-10 concerns. Alternatives that include Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest have helped fill the void left by E3’s setbacks, offering announcements of upcoming games via online presentations, something that major companies such as Nintendo have also warmed up to based on its Nintendo Direct events. Pierre-Louis has welcomed these changes but believes that physical shows are still relevant.

“We’re excited about coming back in 2023 with both a digital and an in-person event,” Pierre-Louis said. “As much as we love these digital events, and as much as they reach people and we want that global reach, we also know that there’s a really strong desire for people to convene — to be able to connect in person and see each other and talk about what makes games great.”

“I think what’s great about all this experimentation is that companies of all sizes are trying to figure out what works best to promote the product and the content that they are looking to share with consumers,” he added. “And I think there is a space for a physical show; I think there’s an importance of having digital reach. Combining those two, I think there is a critical element of what we think E3 can provide.”

Typically, the ESA announces the dates for the following year’s E3 at the conclusion of the current year’s event — which would normally be taking place around this time. Last year, it did not do so, leading to a cancellation announcement at the beginning of 2022. So far, the ESA has yet to announce dates for next year.

Instead, this week the ESA is publishing its 2022 “Essential Facts About the Video Game Industry” report, which draws on a survey of over 4,000 U.S. residents ages 18 and older. Among its findings: More than 65 percent of Americans play video games, 89 percent of players say video games provide stress relief, 88 percent say video games help improve cognitive skills and 61 percent of players say video games have helped them stay connected with family. Pierre-Louis characterized this as clear evidence that video games continue to receive a boost from the pandemic, and that games have conferred numerous benefits to Americans over the course of the past few years.

Source: The Washington Post

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