According to an IGN exclusive, the world’s leading console manufacturers are said to not be attending this year’s in-person E3 event. ESA president and CEO Stan Pierre-Louis confirmed in June 2022 that this year’s E3 would return as an in-person event. It was also later confirmed that Reedpop, the veteran production company behind New York Comic Con, Pax, and the Anaheim Star Wars Celebration, would be producing this year’s show which will run from June 13-16 and feature separate industry and consumer days and spaces.
Knowledgable sources have told IGN that the major console manufacturers will not be attending the event. IGN has reached out to them as well as ReedPop, who replied with the following statement.
From ReedPop (via IGN)
“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 Big Three
Neither Sony, Xbox, Nintendo, nor ESA, had responded to IGN by the time it printed its story. It is not entirely a surprise that Sony will not be attending following a disagreement with ESA in 2019 that led to PlayStation dropping out from the event while it is somewhat unusual that Nintendo has not responded as it has regularly attended past events.
Xbox CEO Phil Spencer, however, has expressed support for E3 by saying that “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.” However, Phil Spencer also said priorly that Microsoft is already planning on holding its own event at around the same time as E3 but working with ESA so the two are conveniently timed for press and consumers. Xbox is a stakeholder in E3 as it is on the board of ESA which makes it all the more interesting how it is planning to hold a separate event simultaneously as E3 and Phil Spencer had the following to say about that.
From Phil Spencer (via IGN)
“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.”
It has been claimed that “the information flow hasn’t been great”, said an IGN source, which confirmed with other sources. This could be, at least in part, a reason why Nintendo, and Xbox, have chosen their own paths. It is not known if Nintendo is planning something on its own since the Switch is getting towards the end of its lifecycle and the industry is expecting some kind of announcement following reports that the company was working on its own next-gen follow-up. Relations with Sony probably need more repair before it will return. Recently there have been reports about a PS5 refresh featuring a detachable disc drive and E3 could be a great place to debut the new model. Regardless it appears that E3 2023 will move forward with or without the major console manufacturers and will continue to change with the times but the absence of the big three will be notable.