E3, one of the world’s largest video game conventions, is shutting down permanently, its organizers said on Tuesday, ending what was once an annual rite for players and creators after it struggled for years to remain relevant in a rapidly evolving industry.
“After more than two decades of E3, each one bigger than the last, the time has come to say goodbye,” its hosts, the nonprofit Entertainment Software Association, announced on its website. “Thanks for the memories,” it said, adding, “GGWP,” or good game, well played.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo, known as E3, had been held every year in Los Angeles since 1995, except when it was canceled during the pandemic. It was one of the most high-profile venues where game makers showcased their creations to fans before they went on sale, sometimes with dazzling demonstrations. Celebrities like Eminem and Rihanna appeared.
E3 was originally aimed at journalists and industry professionals. But the convention attracted so many fans that organizers scaled it down to an invite-only conference in 2007. It still attracted up to 50,000 industry members each June.
E3 later faced competition from fan-focused conventions like Comic-Con, the Penny Arcade Expo and MineCon that grew in popularity. It also lost partners, including Nintendo and Sony, which reduced their presence and chose to reveal new games elsewhere.
Players’ habits have also shifted. As physical games, with discs in boxes, declined in popularity, mobile games rose, overtaking PC gaming in revenue in 2016. The gaming business shifted to digital distribution.
During the pandemic, organizers canceled E3 in 2020 and made it virtual in 2021. It was canceled again in 2022 and never recovered. E3’s permanent cancellation was reported earlier by The Washington Post.
After announcing the end of E3, the Entertainment Software Association said on social media that it remained “focused on advocating for ESA member companies and the industry workforce.”