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Play Life, Live Games column: E3 canceled amid coronavirus concerns

Dusty Ricketts
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Plaquemine Post South

Coronavirus has impacted the video game industry too.

In recent weeks, the coronavirus has impacted numerous industries in major and minor ways. The video game industry is no different.

In the lead-up to this month’s Game Developers Conference, Sony, Microsoft and other developers announced they would skip the show to protect their employees. The organizers later announced the whole show had been postponed with no new dates announced yet.

Other conferences, like the Taipei Game Show, were postponed and PAX East had many of its previously confirmed studios back out, like Sony, Capcom and PUBG Corp.

On Wednesday, the coronavirus had its largest impact on the gaming industry with the announcement that this year’s E3 conference had been canceled.

E3, held annually in June in Los Angeles, is the largest video game conference of the year in terms of new game announcements and other gaming news.

Rumors of E3 being canceled picked up steam on Tuesday, when development studio Devolver Digital tweeted out that people should cancel their E3 flights and hotels. The official announcement came Wednesday morning.

“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,” the ESA said in a statement. “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.”

The ESA also confirmed that it was “exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020.”

Personally, I’ve gotten in the habit the past six or seven years of taking part of that week off each year to stay home and watch all the different press conferences. In fact, I had already put in my request for this year. Having E3 canceled this year is extremely disappointing to me, but I understand their reasoning and do think they made the right call.

Dusty Ricketts is the editor of The Destin Log and The Walton Sun newspapers and can be reached at dricketts@thedestinlog.com.