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The Entertainment Software Association is shifting the Electronic Entertainment Expo to an online-only event out of concerns around the pandemic.
“Due to the ongoing health risks surrounding COVID-19 and its potential impact on the safety of exhibitors and attendees, E3 will not be held in person in 2022,” the ESA said in a statement to GamesBeat. “We remain incredibly excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon.”
That means the show will take place online this summer for the second year in a row, as COVID-19 concerns pushed the June 2021 show into an online-only event and scuttled the 2020 event entirely.
The ESA, a trade group led by the game industry’s publishers, is evidently being cautious because of the huge burst in coronavirus infections prompted by the Omicron variant. The CES 2022 tech trade show — which is taking place in Las Vegas this week — has caught a lot of criticism for going forward with its in-person event despite the risks of being a “superspreader” event.
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While E3 is still months away and the current spike could be over by that time, the organization is in the midst of signing up companies to take exhibition space, as it often takes months for companies to pull their booths together for the big show, which in normal times draws more than 50,000 industry people and 15,000 fans in-person to the Los Angeles Convention Center every June.
Update: 1/6/22 at 12:56 p.m. Pacific time: Updated with modified statement.