E3 2020, the major games industry conference, has been cancelled over Coronavirus concerns. The cancellation is the latest in a string of disruptions to conferences that are important touchstones for the VR industry. The organization that produces E3, the Entertainment Software Association, says it’s exploring options for an “online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020.”

A message posted to the official E3 website today announced the cancellation of the long-running games industry event which has been held annually in Los Angeles.

After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry – our fans, our employees, our exhibitors, and our longtime E3 partners – we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020, scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles.

Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters. But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.

Our team will be reaching out directly to exhibitors and attendees with information about providing full refunds.

We are also exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020. Updates will be shared on E3Expo.com.

We thank everyone who shared their views on reimagining E3 this year. We look forward to bringing you E3 2021 as a reimagined event that brings fans, media, and the industry together in a showcase that celebrates the global video game industry.

The Coronavirus, a novel respiratory virus, began in China with the first reported case on December 31st, 2019; health organizations have since designated the strain as ‘COVID-19’ for specificity. The virus has seen more than 118,000 confirmed cases and 4,200 deaths, according to the latest information from the World Health Organization. COVID-19 has now spread to 114 countries and territories, with China, Italy, Iran, and Korea seeing the greatest number of cases so far.

E3 has long been among a handful of key conferences for the VR industry. Big players like Oculus, Sony, and HTC have used the event to showcase their latest VR hardware and content. The cancellation of E3 2020 is the latest in a string of impacts that Coronavirus has had on the VR industry.

SEE ALSO
This WebXR App Helps You Visualize the Global Infection Rate of Coronavirus

Concerns over the virus have also led to the cancellation of other key VR industry events like Mobile World Congress (MWC), Game Developers Conference (GDC), and Facebook F8. Oculus, Valve, and Nreal have all confirmed that supply of their headsets have been impacted by the virus as well.

Alternative Text

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. More information.


Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Xron

    Ehh.. we need to do something about this cov19… or else he will ruin our daily life.

    • 3872Orcs

      VR will go mainstream when there’s a social app that can do the level of facial tracking shown in the Facebook avatar experiments. No doubt in my mind. Then the tech will be a must have for everyone. https://www.facebook.com/Engineering/videos/codec-avatars-conversation-in-vr/374769169774989/

      And yeah a bit sad that type of tech is not apparently ready yet, would have been nice to have now with the pandemic isolating people. Though what we already have in social VR today is something at least. Hopefully we get all the cool research in practical applications next generation.

      If I have to guess I think the first true next gen headset released will be PSVR2. Then all the rest of the big players will follow suit with their tech. Can’t fucking wait!!

      • 3872Orcs

        I’ll just add this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FruWnv3g9o

        We’re already have some very useful tools we can use to facilitate meet-ups and events of various kind in VR. Altspace and the people that use it has been doing a damn fine job coming up with alternatives to real life gatherings in VR. I already use it to attend events like E3 and Oculus Connect in VR.

        • NooYawker

          Can’t wait for my first VR meeting. I’m going to be completely naked and spread akimbo the entire time.

    • kool

      Its already cost me thousands convention season is my bread n butter…

  • nasprin

    Just trying to think about what consequences this virus will have, I would think there will be a lot more incentive to not only move big events into an online space, but allow a progressively larger part of workers do their job from home.

    Would be interesting to keep an eye on the numbers of commercial VR-Headset sales this year.

  • Thanks Rob, in lockdown, but with the heart warmed by great people like you

  • Damn virus impacting everything from our personal to our working lives…