E3 video game conference cancelled due to Covid-19

Gaming fans play at the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo on June 12, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. — AFP pic
Gaming fans play at the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo on June 12, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. — AFP pic

LOS ANGELES, March 13 — The world’s premier video game trade show, due to be held in June in Los Angeles, was cancelled on Wednesday over the spread of deadly novel coronavirus.

The Entertainment Software Association said that the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) event would not take place, becoming the latest in growing list of cancelled conferences.

“Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the Covid-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation,” the association said in an online post.

“We know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.”

The annual event has been a showcase for new video game titles, trends and hardware, attracting people from around the world. E3 had long been restricted to members of the industry, but has dabbled with opening parts of the show to fans in recent years.

New-generation Xbox and PlayStation consoles along with games tailored for the hardware were expected to be in the spotlight at E3 this year.

PlayStation-maker Sony pulled out of E3 early this year, but Microsoft had events planned for the gathering.

“After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry — our fans, our employees, our exhibitors and our longtime E3 partners — we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020,” organizers said.

The ESA added that it is working with video game industry companies on streaming events or announcements to online audiences to share news planned for release at E3.

French video game titan Ubisoft said that while it is disappointed in the cancellation of E3, it supports the decision made to protect people’s health.

“E3 is and will continue to be a moment where we come together as a community and share our love of games,” Ubisoft said in a released statement.

“We’re exploring other options for a digital experience that will allow us to share all the exciting news we have planned.”

Conferences crumbling

Google last week cancelled its major annual gathering of software developers amid virus concerns.

The internet giant said it nixed the festival-like event Google I/O event scheduled for May a short distance from the “Googleplex” in the Silicon Valley city of Mountain View.

The annual Google I/O conference typically attracts thousands of developers from around the world to mingle with one another and with engineers from the internet company on ways to synchronize software and services to its array of offerings.

A game developers conference in San Francisco was postponed, and Facebook recently cancelled its F8 developers conference, the biggest annual event for the US tech giant, due to virus worries.

Like Google I/O, the F8 gathering in the Silicon Valley city of San Jose typically draws throngs of software makers from around the world who collaborate with the tech giant on its platform.

Face-to-face interaction at the San Jose conference centre will be replaced with online presentations.

A TED conference slated to take place in Vancouver next month was postponed until late July after a majority of attendees voted to delay the real-world gathering instead of replacing it with streamed presentations, organizers said on Monday.

The annual gathering, renowned for exploring “ideas worth spreading,” typically attracts the brilliant, influential and accomplished and is a stage for the popular “TED Talks” made available free online.

The major annual South By Southwest cultural conference slated to take place in Austin, Texas, was also cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. — AFP

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