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E3 games show slated for June called off over virus fears

Dina Bass

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, a massive video-game conference scheduled to take over the Los Angeles Convention Center in June, is being canceled due to coronavirus concerns.

The cancellation is planned to be announced at 9:30 am Los Angeles time on March 11 by the Entertainment Software Association, according to a person familiar with the matter. The ESA, which organizes the show commonly known as E3, wrote in a private memo to partners on Tuesday that it is “exploring options for an online E3 event this summer.”

E3 is the biggest event on the gaming industry calendar, serving as a focal point for new hardware and software announcements, and its 2020 edition has been hotly anticipated as a place to learn more about the new consoles planned by Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp. for the end of the year. Game studios and publishers also rely on such conferences to check out the competition, ply their wares and road-test games to acquire.

The tech-news outlet Ars Technica first reported on this decision, citing people familiar with the situation. Video-game company Devolver Digital also tweeted on Tuesday saying, “Cancel your E3 flights and hotels, y’all.”

E3 would join a growing tide of events canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak, which is sweeping the world. That includes tech conferences and major gatherings, such as the South by Southwest festival that was originally scheduled to take place this month in Austin, Texas. Even an event focused on the coronavirus was pushed back this week in response to the virus’s spread.

The ESA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Bloomberg News.

Organizers of E3, which was slated for early June, previously said they were “monitoring and evaluating the situation daily” via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.