Update: Annnd it's official: E3 is cancelled.
With more and more events being cancelled over recent weeks due to concerns about the Covid-19 coronavirus, it's seemed nigh inevitable that June's E3 would be binned. The organisers have so far said they were keeping an eye on the situation while moving ahead buuut now several outlets are reporting they've heard that E3 is scrapped. Rumour says this will be announced at 9:30am Pacific (4:30 UK time) today. Should the rumours be wrong and this not happen today, ah c'mon the ESA are just kicking the can down the road.
Ars Technica report that multiple sources in the know have told them the Entertainment Software Association will soon announce E3's cancellation. One said the announcement was meant to happen on Tuesday but ended up postponed. Bloomberg separately report that their source says the cancellation will now be made official at 9:30 Pacific today.
Devolver Digital, the publishers of Hotline Miami and Enter The Gungeon, also chimed in last night but they're a cheeky bunch of rascals so who knows how much they're just tweaking the ESA's nose:
Cancel your E3 flights and hotels, y’all.— Devolver Digital (@devolverdigital) March 11, 2020
Should this turn out to be a misfire in the rumour mill, I'd be astonished if the ESA don't soon cancel this year's expo anyway. While some countries are starting to get the outbreak under control through serious organised effort, the USA is doing naff all. Cramming 60,000-odd people into a space that's a hive of filth at the best of times seems questionable.
What would happen if E3 is cancelled? Realistically, not much? The big presentations can still go ahead, broadcast remotely. All the announcements can still be made, just without cars descending from the ceiling or media embarrassing themselves by whooping at marketing. Not having the expo means no E3 previews but walkthroughs of E3 demos are usually shown on YouTube too anyway. No E3 interviews means we might now learn precisely how many levels and guns a game has but ah we'll live. And if we go a year without the expo part of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, will there be enough interest to ever do it again? E3 is hugely valuable as an event to anchor the year's marketing but the show itself is a bit whatever.
Officially, E3 2020 will run June 9th to 11th in Los Angeles.