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E3 cancelled for third year running thanks to Omicron – no sign of digital event

There will yet again be no in-person version of E3 this year, as the future of the video game trade show hangs in the balance.

E3 organisers the ESA have confirmed that there will be no in-person event this year in L.A., as what used to be the most important week in the gaming calendar is cancelled once more.

The news doesn’t come as much of a surprise, given how the Omicron variant has spread in the US, but the confirmation that it’s not happening has come very early in the year, with the ESA offering no comment on whether there’ll be an online-only version instead.

‘Due to the ongoing health risks surrounding COVID-19 and its potential impact on the safety of exhibitors and attendees, E3 will not be held in person in 2022’, said the ESA in a statement to IGN. ‘We remain incredibly excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon’.

Unlike previous years, there was never any provisional date for what would have been E3 2022, with IGN sources suggesting that plans were abandoned last autumn, before the appearance of Omicron.

The lack of news on a digital event suggests that’s not happening either, although the one last year was so low key most ordinary gamers were probably unaware it even happened.

The future of E3 was already being questioned before the pandemic, especially after Sony and a handful of other major publishers ceased their involvement.

The coronavirus has certainly accelerated the show’s end though, not least because it forced publishers to run their own independent online events, all of which have been perfectly successful on their own.

It’s likely that many will still choose to run their events in or around June, when E3 traditionally takes place, while Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest is increasingly likely to take the place of an anchor event for the whole industry.

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