Why are Xbox, Nintendo, and Sony ditching E3?

By Melany Moncada

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Jan 31, 2023

Reading time: 3 min

More reports are surfacing about the alleged absence of major brands at the upcoming E3, the biggest video game event of the year. This leaves fans wondering why Xbox, Nintendo, and Sony are ditching E3.

Electronic Entertainment Expo, also known as E3, is the largest exhibition for developers and publishers in the video game industry. The event took place for the first time in May of 1995 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, becoming the annual mandatory stop for video game creators and fans.

The event is organized by the Entertainment Software Association, ESA for short, the trade association of the video game industry. The ESA oversees the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, in charge of assigning rates to video games and also works on reducing copyright infringement.

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Why are Xbox, Nintendo, and Sony ditching E3?

In recent years, developers have grown frustrated with the treatment of the E3 brand. This is to the point where many of them consider that it no longer holds the importance it used to command. In 2019, ahead of E3, Sony Interactive Entertainment announced that it would not participate in the event and instead would explore other ways to engage its community.

At the time, many experts considered it to be a risky decision that would negatively affect Sony and all its related brands. Of course, time proved this analysis wrong. In 2022, Sony had an expected revenue of $76.6 billion.

Microsoft and Nintendo have taken similar approaches to their announcements, opting to host their own events following their own priorities. In 2021, Nintendo hosted 12 Nintendo Direct presentations, where it introduced everything from indie games to big franchises like Pokemon and Animal Crossing. In 2022, the developer hosted 11 events, including the world premiere of the trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

Microsoft and Xbox have hosted similar events. On January 25, 2022, Xbox hosted the first ever Developer Direct and shared plans for a Microsoft Showcase taking place next summer. The date is yet to be confirmed, but it could be close to E3, from June 13 through June 16.

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Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony have their own events, curated to their communities’ tastes and organized according to the company’s needs. Why would they need E3? The honest truth is, they don’t. Especially now that companies are making drastic budget cuts.

Developers don’t trust E3

Back in 2022, the ESA outsourced the organization of E3 to ReedPop, the production company behind PAX, New York Comic Con, the Star Wars Celebration, and many more pop culture events. The move had the opposite effect that ESA intended.

According to some reports, ReedPop has failed to provide timely information to developers regarding the event. The production company released a statement, sharing their commitment to E3 and bringing a better experience for fans based on feedback. ReedPop also stated that it is yet to send any contracts to exhibitors.

At the time of this article, ReedPop has an open vacancy on its website for Event Director for E3. Considering the scale of the event, it seems a bit late to be looking to fill such an important role.

The developers and ReedPop are yet to confirm the absence of the big three.

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