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Sorry, gamers: E3 will be an online-only event in 2022 again due to concerns over COVID

This is the second year in a row for the annual video gaming event to be a virtual reality.

By James Comtois

For the third year in a row, the most talked-about annual video gaming event in the world will not be held in-person. A report from GamesBeat confirmed by SYFY WIRE reveals that E3 — the Electronic Entertainment Expo organized by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) — will once again an online only-event this year because of COVID-19 concerns. 

“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,” the ESA said in a statement issued to SYFY WIRE. “We remain incredibly excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon.”

This is the second year in a row that the annual video game conference will be virtual (after canceling the event altogether in 2020). The decision also coincides with some former major exhibitors pulling out of the event in recent years, most notably EA and Sony. Even without every AAA studio and publisher on tap, the event is still a major event in the video game space and remains a platform to promote buzzy new games.

Since the early 2000s, E3 has been one of the gaming industry’s biggest events, drawing tens of thousands of gamers (Gamesbeat has it as typically more than 50,000 industry people and 15,000 fans) to the expo’s annual home at the Los Angeles Convention Center every June. 

Although events like New York Comic Con and Emerald City Comic Con were held in-person last year (with some virtual elements), the recent omicron variant of COVID has led most convention organizers to take an online-only or hybrid approach to upcoming events this year. Several recent large in-person events such as the Sundance Film Festival, Grammy Awards and CES have had their formats adjusted and changed due to the pandemic.

Looking ahead to the next major con exhibition on the calendar, it will be interesting to see what the organizers behind San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) do with its planned July event. The con returned in a smaller in-person format this past November, but the usual format makes for one of the largest and highest-profile conventions of the year.