It’s game over for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3.
The Entertainment Software Association, the video-game trade group that ran the convention, announced Tuesday that E3, first launched in 1995, is winding down.
“After more than two decades of hosting an event that has served as a central showcase for the U.S. and global video game industry, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has decided to bring E3 to a close,” the trade group said in a statement. “ESA remains focused on advocating for ESA member companies and the industry workforce who fuel positive cultural and economic impact every day.”
E3 was canceled in 2020 was canceled because of COVID — and the in-person version of the show never recovered. ESA held an all-virtual E3 in June 2021 and then it was canceled altogether in 2022 and 2023 after the trade conference struggled to attract exhibitors.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, E3 was losing steam. Geoff Keighley, founder of the Game Awards (who said he had attended every E3 since the first one), in 2020 launched the Summer Game Fest. Before E3 2020 was canceled, Keighley said he was not participating in the expo because he believes in-person events don’t serve gaming fans, developers or publishers as well as online events can.
In 2019, the last time E3 was held in person, the convention drew 66,100 attendees, according to the ESA.
On social media, E3 posted a farewell message that read, “After more than two decades of E3, each one bigger than the last, the time has come to say goodbye. Thanks for the memories.”
In a final bid to revive E3, ESA last year had formed a partnership to produce E3 2023 with ReedPop, the event-production company behind PAX, New York Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration and others.