“We look forward to returning in 2023 with both a digital and in-person event,” said ESA President and CEO Stan Pierre-Louis in an interview with the Washington Post. “As much as we love these digital events and as much as we love them to reach people and we want that global reach, we also know that there’s a really strong desire for people to come together – to meet in person and see each other and talk about what makes games great.”
Since 1995, the Los Angeles-based convention has served as the video game industry’s annual epicenter for major product announcements. But a series of controversies dogged the 2021 event, including restrictions on who could live stream E3’s digital-only 2021 event and a “make friends” social feature. revealed users’ personal information. And as game publishers increasingly rely on digital showcases instead of costly trips to La., reports recommend Those issues were brewing for this year’s E3 even before ESA pulled the plug on in-person and digital events, citing concerns about the Omicron variant.
When asked about these reports, Pierre-Louis declined a direct answer, saying: “What I can tell you is that Covid has been a driving factor for anyone doing physical events for the past three years.”
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Keighley’s competing Summer Game Fest event includes a press-focused face-to-face component in Los Angeles, albeit on a much smaller scale than E3’s typical gathering of over 50,000 people. Meanwhile, a rotating series of digital-only presentations like Nintendo Direct, Sony’s State of Play, and regular Microsoft showcases have largely filled the hole left by E3, giving individual games more breathing room and reducing the costs that the publishers had to spend on travel and game demos.
Still, Pierre-Louis said he believes there’s something to be said for doing things the old-fashioned way.
“I think the great thing about all of these experiments is that companies of all sizes are trying to figure out what works best to promote the product and content they want to share with consumers,” he said. “And I think there’s a space for a physical show; I think it’s important to have digital reach. By combining these two, I think there’s a crucial element to what we think E3 can offer.”
Typically, ESA announces the dates for the following year’s E3 at the end of the current year’s event – which would normally take place around this time. This was not the case last year, leading to a cancellation announcement in early 2022. So far, ESA has not announced any dates for next year.
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Instead, this week ESA is releasing its 2022 Essential Facts About the Video Game Industry report, based on a survey of over 4,000 US citizens aged 18 and over. Among the findings: More than 65 percent of Americans play video games, 89 percent of gamers say video games reduce stress, 88 percent say video games help improve cognitive skills, and 61 percent of gamers say video games helped them to keep in touch with family. Pierre-Louis called this clear evidence that video games continue to get a boost from the pandemic and that games have brought numerous benefits to Americans over the past few years.
With that in mind, Pierre-Louis said he was surprised to see such politicians Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) try to blame video games for the recent mass shootings.
“We discourage baseless allegations linking these tragedies to video games because the science is clear, and has been for a long time: Independent research indicates that video games are not a source of real-world violence — so much so, that the Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that video games are protected,” said Pierre-Louis. “I think the most telling fact and statistic is that the same video games that are sold in the United States are sold around the world. And yet we are the only country that has this level of violence and gun violence in particular.”