E3 canceled: Here's what Microsoft, Ubisoft and others are doing

Companies are still planning to announce new games and consoles through online streams.

Ian Sherr Contributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Sean Keane Former Senior Writer
Sean knows far too much about Marvel, DC and Star Wars, and poured this knowledge into recaps and explainers on CNET. He also worked on breaking news, with a passion for tech, video game and culture.
Expertise Culture, Video Games, Breaking News
Ian Sherr
Sean Keane
2 min read

For more than two decades, the Electronic Entertainment Expo , better known as E3, was a summer ritual for game companies to announce new titles and consoles . Now that it's canceled due to coronavirus concerns, game companies say they still plan to hold announcements.

Watch this: E3 2020 scrapped: What happens now?

Shortly after the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced E3's cancellation on Wednesday, major game makers such as Microsoft and Ubisoft said they were planning online events where they'd stream announcements to fans. E3 was set for June 9 to 11 in Los Angeles.

Gaming companies are just the latest to cancel events following the spread of the novel coronavirus, which the World Health Organization has officially labeled a pandemic. Local governments around the country have been declaring public health emergencies, barring events and encouraging companies to send employees home.

Tech giants like Facebook and Google were forced to cancel their biggest events of the year, typically held in the spring and summer months. Now, Silicon Valley is effectively on lockdown.

The video game industry isn't planning to merely cancel E3 though. Companies say they'll announce upcoming games over the internet, likely through livestreams or recorded messages.

Watch this: E3 canceled: Here is what we know so far

Here's what they're planning:


The Xbox maker said it will plan a "digital event" where it will stream announcements of new titles and details of its next-generation Xbox Series X video game console to fans "in the coming weeks."


The Mario, Zelda and Switch maker, which typically holds an video streaming "Nintendo Direct" during E3 instead of a press conference, said it'll come up with other ways to make announcements.

"We'll continue to be flexible and redirect our efforts to other ways of keeping our fans up to date about our activities and products. We are considering various ways to engage with our fans and will have more to share as the year continues."

Electronic Arts (EA)

Since 2016, EA has held its own event in Los Angeles just before E3, called EA Play. This year, the company -- known for its FIFA soccer games and Star Wars titles -- said it's still reassessing plans for how it will proceed.

"We've continued to follow the coronavirus developments around the world very closely.  Clearly the situation is evolving by the day, and we've been reviewing how it will change our plans for EA PLAY 2020.  We will share more soon."


The French game maker, known for The Division post-apocalytpic action game and Watch Dogs hacking series, said it too will likely put together a video stream announcing new games, though it didn't offer specifics.

Warner Bros. Games

Warner Bros. Games had planned to host its first E3 press conference, Kotaku reported, where it intended to reveal new Batman and Harry Potter games, as well the next game from Arkham series developers Rocksteady Studios. The company didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Square Enix

The Final Fantasy 7 Remake developer said on Twitter that it's "exploring other options" to share its games for 2020 and the next-generation consoles, without offering specifics.

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