E3 2020 Moving Ahead Despite Coronavirus Concerns

The ESA is moving ahead with E3 2020 despite global health concerns and the cancellation of GDC and other video game conventions.

Photo: Entertainment Software Association

Despite concerns about the first confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and California declaring a state of emergency, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has reassured attendees that, while the organization is still moving ahead with E3 2020 in Los Angeles in June, the ESA is “monitoring and evaluating the situation daily.”

“The health and safety of our attendees, exhibitors, partners, and staff is our top priority,” wrote the ESA in a statement in early March. “Our E3 team and partners continue to monitor COVID-19 via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). We are actively assessing the latest information and will continue to develop measures to further reduce health risks at the show.”

Previously, the ESA told IGN that it would be “moving ahead full speed with E3 2020 planning. Exhibit and registrations ales are on track for an exciting show in June.”

These statements come less than a week after GDC was postponed from March to the summer. PlayStation, Epic, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google were among the major companies to drop out of the convention before it was postponed.

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“Having spent the past year preparing for the show with our advisory boards, speakers, exhibitors, and event partners, we’re genuinely upset and disappointed not to be able to host you at this time,” the GDC organizers said in their own statement.

Whether the ESA decides to cancel E3 will likely depend on how the infection continues to spread across the U.S. If E3 2020 were to be canceled or postponed, it would follow a long string of other canceled gaming events. The Taipei Game Show was canceled earlier this year, and CCP’s EVE Fanfest event in Reykjavik, Iceland, which was set to take place in April, was also shuttered. Last week, Capcom canceled several Street Fighter tournaments from the Capcom Pro Tour.

As of this writing at least 118 patients have been treated for coronavirus in 16 states, including 40 cases in California, according to The New York Times, which also reports that the infection now has a higher fatality rate than the seasonal flu “but does not transmit as easily.” At the time of writing, 77 countries have confirmed cases of the infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These are all factors the ESA will have to take into consideration as the date of the trade show approaches. At the moment, E3 2020 is scheduled for June 9-11 and no major exhibitors have pulled out of the convention. PlayStation won’t be there, but Microsoft has big plans to bring the Xbox Series X to the show. This year’s E3 will be a “reimagined” version of the trade show “include new stage experiences, experiential zones, and live events” as well as feature “special guest gamers, celebrities, and digital programming on the show floor while connecting with global audiences through extended live streaming.”

We’ll keep you updated if anything changes.