Exclusive: Xbox, Nintendo and Sony will not be part of E3 2023

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The first physical E3 event in four years was supposed to be a triumphant return to the show, a chance to recapture some of the excitement of past conventions, which have historically been great showcases for the video game industry.

However, it looks like when E3 2023 hits the Los Angeles Convention Center in June, it will do without three of its most important attractions. IGN has learned from informed sources that Xbox, Sony, and Nintendo will not be a part of E3 2023 nor will they be present on the Los Angeles Convention Center show floor.

This information follows Xbox’s announcement last week that it would be returning to Los Angeles for its annual summer event, though it declined to confirm if it would be part of the fair itself.

Speaking to IGN last week, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer said the platform is scheduling its E3 presentation at a “press- and even consumer-friendly” time of the event, which means that is likely to roughly coincide with the event itself. Spencer also highlighted Xbox’s public support of E3 and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). However, IGN understands that Xbox will not have a booth at the show.

All three of gaming’s first-party console manufacturers appear poised to skip E3's big return.

“For me, E3 is one of the pivotal moments in gaming. I love the story of going to Los Angeles, with thousands of people there, seeing big things… seeing people from the industry, the fan events we’ve had. celebrated. I want this to continue,” says Spencer.

“Xbox is on the board of the ESA, and I believe that a healthy and prosperous ESA is critical to what we’re trying to do. So we’ve placed our showcase, as we’ve always done, at a time when we hope it’s convenient for the press and even for consumers going to E3, and that’s what we’re trying to do now. We’ll continue to work with ESA on their plans. As I said, we’re on the board, and we want to make sure we’re doing everything everything possible to help make E3 a success.”

Xbox’s current plans for the show remain unconfirmed, but in previous years it has held an exhibition, previous events and mixes with the press. Internally, Xbox has recently suffered layoffs and other cutbacks, forcing it to tighten its belt after a year in which there were virtually no major releases.

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Xbox’s decision not to be present at E3 comes as a surprise, given its support for the event in the past. Of the so-called “big three”, it seemed the most likely to be at E3among other things because it has several important releases to promote in 2023, such as Starfield.

Nintendo has also traditionally maintained a booth at E3, even after pioneering the “Direct” format. However, industry sources have informed IGN that neither Nintendo nor Sony will be present at E3 2023, since PlayStation abandoned the event in 2019 due to disagreements with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). At the moment it is not clear if Nintendo and Sony intend to coincide with the event.

Representatives for Nintendo, Sony, Xbox, and the ESA did not return requests for comment by press time. ReedPop has made the following statement.

E3 is such an important event for the video game industry that ReedPop does not take lightly the fact that it is entrusted with an important cultural touchstone. Since ReedPop took over the contract to manage E3 six months ago, we’ve worked diligently with ESA members based on your feedback to create a new type of E3 that supports their goals and needs.

This process has taken time due to the sheer number of stakeholders that have provided input, although we are aware that we could have been more transparent with the questions for which we were still finalizing answers. We continue to work tirelessly to create a show that unites the global gaming industry. We believe we have created a new format for the event that meets the needs of both the industry and its fans, and we are committed to building and growing it for years to come.

As we’ve spent much of 2022 fine-tuning the shape E3 2023 would take, reflecting on the feedback we solicited, we haven’t sent a single contract to an exhibitor as of earlier this month. We’ve received tremendous interest and verbal commitments from many of the biggest companies in the industry, and when we’re ready to announce the exhibitors, we’re sure it will be a lineup that will make the trip to Los Angeles worthwhile for both the industry and itself. for the consumers.

“A hard blow for E3”

The news has the potential to be a major blow to E3, which is trying to reestablish itself with the help of event company ReedPop, Ampere analyst Piers Harding-Rolls tells IGN. “The fairgrounds will undoubtedly miss the bustle and scale of the rig holders’ stands.”

With Microsoft already confirming a summer showcase, Rolls says it’s “likely that Xbox buzz will radiate all over E3.” Nevertheless, uncertainty around Nintendo, in particular, can mess things up.

“It’s unfortunate that the physical event returns when Nintendo is at the tail end of the Switch lifecycle, with no sign of a next-gen device this year,” says Rolls. “I’m not sure he’s going to have a lot of games to show this year, so it makes sense to skip it.”

As for Sony, Rolls notes that He has been skipping big events “for several cycles”.

“This doesn’t stop him from having an online showcase of some kind in the same window, but based on recent history it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to hear that he plans to skip E3 2023 as well,” he explains. “All three companies have an effective online showcase strategy, which gives them the flexibility to combine their promotional activity during, before or after the big traditional events.”

According to an informed source, in the last three years there have been “continuous frustrations” with the ESA, which according to them “has managed the E3 brand incredibly badly in the last three years.” They corroborate other IGN sources by stating that several of E3’s main organizers have left ESA, “leaving a new group sweeping after them”, and criticize ReedPop’s management of the event.

The source claims that ReedPop began contacting publishers about E3 last fall, promising to book slots in December. But With less than six months to E3, sources say “a lot of information is missing”.

There’s not a good feeling that there’s an understanding of what this show is going to be or how it’s going to come together, which is strange from a company that does such an amazing job with PAX twice a year.

“There’s not a good feeling that there’s an understanding of what this show is going to be or how it’s going to come together, which is strange from a company that does such an incredible job with PAX twice a year,” they told IGN. . “It seemed like they would be the perfect shepherds for something like E3. So who knows where the problem is: Is it an ESA problem? Is it a ReedPop problem? But it seems like there’s a lot of genuine interest from game publishers in the E3 concept, but it’s really frustrating that we don’t have good solutions.”

With little clarity on whether E3 will represent a good return on investment, and the tech space more uncertain than ever, many publishers seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach with E3 2023at least for now.

“The flow of information has not been very good. I don’t think anyone wants to be the first to come out…” the IGN source stated, which corroborates other conversations we’ve had around the industry.

The ESA confirmed last year that E3 2023 would take place from June 13 to 16, with “E3 Gamer Days” being open to the public on the 15th and 16th. It is being organized in collaboration with ReedPop, the company responsible for Star Wars Celebration, New York Comic Con and PAX.

The events have been trying to recover from the blow of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw major events across the gaming industry and beyond get cancelled. E3 tried to join Gamescom, PAX, and other consumer events to come back in 2022, but it was ultimately cancelled.

This year, finally, the event will be held again, but with the increasing presence of digital showcases and the improbable appearance of large companies, it may be some time before E3 approaches its former size again.