E3 returns live, in June 2023, for fans and industry members

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, returns in 2023 as an in-person event from June 13-16.

Once the gaming industry’s main annual event, E3 has lost importance over the years as other events have taken advantage of E3’s multi-year absence. The show is now embarking on a new strategy to regain fan interest and woo big brands as it faces a busy gaming event schedule, with dozens of virtual and live showcases each year.

Next year’s E3 will be launched in partnership with ReedPop, an exhibition company that hosts some of the world’s biggest entertainment trade events such as Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), New York Comic-Con and the Star Wars Celebration. As reported by GameIndustry.biz, the 2023 iteration of E3 will be a hybrid event for trade attendees and fans: the first two days will be business-focused and industry-only; day three will feature a mix of events, with half of the Los Angeles Convention Center dedicated to industry workers and the other half to general consumers; the last day will be dedicated to the fans.

Some of the new expo features include an E3 app where attendees can host in-person meetings, multimedia resources delivered directly to inboxes before and during the show for industry workers, and increased access for independent publishers to showcase games in the convention center lobby.

For years, E3 has been the biggest event in gaming. Is it always true?

The success of the show depends on who is ready to show up. While the covid-19 pandemic has hampered all in-person gaming events, E3 has been hit particularly hard. The show canceled its event in 2020, moved to an all-virtual showcase in 2021 (when it was rebranded “Electronic Entertainment Experience” to reflect the move), and announced an in-person event in 2022 which was later changed to line only and eventually canceled completely.

In the meantime, other events, such as The Game Awards and Summer Game Fest, have risen to prominence. Both are hosted and curated by Geoff Keighley, a longtime E3 host until 2020 when he announced he would not be returning to the show, citing concerns over its lack of innovation. Keighley’s Summer Game Fest in 2021 was a resounding success: the show received over 25 million live streams with a peak of 3 million concurrent viewers worldwide, according to figures shared with The Washington Post, and it hosted the first gameplay reveal of FromSoftware’s megahit, “Elden Ring.” Although Summer Game Fest and E3 are both scheduled for June 2023, Keighley maintained that the two events are not concurrent.

Although E3 has repeatedly cited the pandemic for its event planning issues over the past few years, the cracks were already forming before any global lockdown orders kicked in. Sony and Electronic Arts are all two absent from E3 since 2019, opting instead to rely primarily on internal conferences.

Despite a lukewarm 2021 event and an increasingly crowded landscape, the relevance and impact of E3 is still undeniable. But its hibernation over the past few years has given other flagship events a window to proliferate and grow. For E3 to retain its cachet, it must succeed in its plan to be a trade show for industry insiders as well as a celebration of upcoming releases for fans.