End of an Era: E3, Once the Pinnacle of Gaming Shows, Permanently Shut Down

In a significant development for the gaming industry, the curtain has fallen on E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, once hailed as the premier event in the gaming calendar. The organisers released a statement acknowledging the end of an era, stating, “After more than two decades of E3, each one bigger than the last, the time has come to say goodbye. Thanks for the memories. GGWP [good game well played].”

A Once Dominant Force

The Rise and Fall

E3, which started as a trade show in 1995, quickly became the industry’s main showcase for new games and technology. Over the years, it unveiled groundbreaking innovations, including the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and a prototype of the Nintendo Wii in its 2005 event, drawing a record attendance of 70,000 visitors. However, as major players like Nintendo, Ubisoft, and Sony began hosting their own events to launch new games, E3 faced a decline in relevance and struggled to secure exclusive announcements.

Pandemic Pause

The expo, which had shifted to virtual platforms in 2021 due to the pandemic, faced additional challenges. The pandemic-induced pause was followed by the cancellation of the 2023 event, citing a lack of interest from industry participants. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which organised E3, confirmed to the BBC that the event will not have a future iteration.

Changing Landscape

Industry Shift

Piers Harding-Rolls, research director for games at Ampere Analysis, remarked that gaming companies hosting their own events emerged as a more cost-effective and flexible approach to reach audiences and control news releases. As E3 struggled to attract the exclusive announcements it once boasted, major players found alternative platforms to showcase their products.

Nostalgia and Impact

While the industry acknowledges the changing landscape and the practicality of decentralised events, Harding-Rolls expressed a sense of nostalgia, stating, “From a nostalgia point of view, it is sad to see it go.” E3 was once viewed as an “unmissable event,” playing a crucial role in generating pre-launch buzz and revealing upcoming games and products.

Fond Farewells

Industry Reaction

As news of E3’s permanent closure spread, industry figures and enthusiasts took to social media to express their sentiments. Game developer Hollie Bennett shared on Twitter that it was “sad” to witness E3 “fizzle out,” emphasizing the significant impact it had on the gaming industry. Others echoed the sentiment, recalling the excitement and anticipation that E3 brought to the gaming community.

In the wake of E3’s demise, the gaming industry reflects on the end of an era, recognizing the profound impact this once-mighty expo had on shaping the narrative of the gaming world.

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