The ESA has declared that E3, one of the year’s major video game trade exhibitions, would once again be an online-only event this summer, citing persistent fears over the COVID-19 outbreak. This is the third year in a straight that E3 has canceled its in-person event due to the epidemic, according to VentureBeat.
“E3 will not be hosted in person in 2022 because to the persistent health hazards regarding COVID-19 and its possible influence on the safety of exhibitors and guests,” the ESA said in a statement to VentureBeat. “We remain optimistic about E3’s future and look forward to sharing more information shortly.”
“The ESA looks forward to coming back together to celebrate E3 2022 in person,” the ESA said in April 2021 (when it formally changed that year’s conference to a digital event), when it announced that “the ESA looks forward to coming back together to celebrate E3 2022 in person.”
However, with the start of the omicron form and an increase in case numbers in the United States, the ESA appears to have determined that hosting a conference with thousands of journalists, game developers, and fans this summer isn’t worth the risk.
The postponement of an in-person event by E3 is the latest in a string of big events thrown off by COVID’s recent surge: the Grammy Awards were just postponed indefinitely from their planned January 31st date, and the Sundance Film Festival will also move online-only.
The ESA isn’t the only one looking forward to summer gaming events; shortly after the announcement that E3 2022 would be a virtual event, gaming industry figure Geoff Keighley announced that his own “Summer Games Fest” event (which aimed to fill the void left by E3’s cancellation in 2020) would be returning in 2022 as well.