E3, the once-massive videogame trade show, has been permanently canceled

It’s game over for E3.

In a tweet Tuesday, the trade group that ran the once-blockbuster annual videogame conference said it was permanently pulling the plug on the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

“The time has come to say goodbye,” the Entertainment Software Association said, adding “GGWP,” gamer slang for “good game, well played.”

The first E3 was held in 1995, but the event had not convened in person since 2019, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It held a virtual event in 2021, but E3 had been canceled for the past two years, though there had been hints it would eventually come back.

E3 was once a yearly highlight for the videogame industry, especially in the days before social media, with tens of thousands of retailers, creators, industry insiders and media members gathering in Los Angeles, as companies showed off new consoles and previewed upcoming games. The event was not open to the general public until 2017.

In an interview with the Washington Post, ESA CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis confirmed E3’s permanent cancellation, and acknowledged that the times had passed it by.

“There were fans who were invited to attend in the later years, but it really was about a marketing and business model for the industry and being able to provide the world with information about new products,” he told the Post. “Companies now have access to consumers and to business relations through a variety of means, including their own individual showcases.”

The event’s downfall started in 2018, when Sony’s SONY, +1.19% PlayStation pulled out. This year’s E3 was canceled after Microsoft Corp. MSFT, +0.83%,  Nintendo Co. 7974, -0.39%  and Ubisoft Entertainment  UBI, -3.04%  said they wouldn’t be participating.

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