E3 was almost live again, what’s next for gaming expos?

E3 has been the biggest ongoing gaming expo in the world. Developers, streamers, and personalities came from all over the globe to attend what many held as the most important single gaming event of the year. As a press only oriented event, major players began to move to have E3-adjacent events,  the ESA then pivoted to a more fan-oriented show.  The pandemic disrupted the public upswell from E3 2019, being cancelled in 2020 and going fully online in 2021, it was nearly back on track and live at the LACC but with mixed predictions of where the pandemic was going they again announced that 2022 would be virtual onlyGamers are itching to head back to Los Angeles and celebrate their newest games and consoles in person. So what’s the predictions?

The pandemic has done more than just force events such as E3 to go online. A lack of leisure options outside the house has led to a surge in the popularity of esports such as Counter-Strike, League of Legends and even online Chess. With a new consumer base of budding gamers, it’s more important than ever to demonstrate just how large the gaming community is with one of the largest expos of the year. Although the 2021 online live streams were better than nothing, E3 truly thrives when it’s live and in person allowing everyone to get the feel of the latest in the gaming industry.

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One of the best things to come from the pandemic was the flexibility that such events had to offer those who were stuck at home. Although the pandemic seems to be on its last legs, many still won’t be able to travel to the city of angels to visit the exhibition first-hand. It’s likely that as a result of the pandemic, we’ll eventually see a hybrid approach to E3 when it’s finally live again, combining both the best aspects of holding a gaming expo online with the in-person experience gamers and developers are craving. Stanley Pierre-Louis, the CEO of the ESA, said in a June 2021 interview that future E3 events will “probably be a mix of physical and digital,” For now, due to covid concerns and the omicron variant surge the conference will once again be held virtually.

Despite its unfounded reputation as a solitary experience, gaming is one of the best ways to meet others with similar hobbies and interests all around the world. Engaging with the gaming industry live and in person is vital to such a shared experience, and the past few years without E3 have been noticeably quiet for the gaming scene. Helping fans to interact with each other as well as the developers of some of their favorite games seems to be something foundational to gaming itself. 

As an agency who has worked with various brands on E3 conferences among other gaming events and activations over the course of the past 20 years, and pivoted to delivering award-winning virtual events in 2020, we’re looking forward to helping our clients connect meaningfully with their audiences this coming year, hybrid or in-person, and we’ll be ready when E3 returns to Los Angeles, fingers crossed that’s 2023!