Wednesday 11 March 2020 4:02 pm

Gaming's biggest conference E3 cancelled over coronavirus concerns

This year’s upcoming E3 conference has been cancelled, as coronavirus continues to spread.

Held in Los Angeles, E3 plays home to major gaming updates from Sony and Microsoft every year, and was this year set to feature the 2020 debut of the Playstation 5 and a new iteration of the Xbox.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), organisers of E3, said in a statement:

“After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry – our fans, our employees, our exhibitors and our longtime E3 partners β€” we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020, scheduled for June 9–11 in Los Angeles.

“Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the Covid-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters.  But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.

“Our team will be reaching out directly to exhibitors and attendees with information about providing full refunds.”

Read more: MWC 2020 cancelled after coronovirus fears spark mass exodus

ESA is “exploring options” around offering access to the event online in June, so that announcements can still be made by the various major gaming companies that were scheduled to attend.

Phil Spencer, executive vice-president of gaming at Microsoft, said in a tweet: “Given this decision, this year we’ll celebrate the next generation of gaming with the Xbox community and all who love to play via an Xbox digital event.”

It is unknown whether the streamed event will coincide with the previous E3 dates, with Spencer adding that details and timings would be issued “in the coming weeks”.

Sony had already pulled out of E3 in January, as impact from the virus began to ramp up. It will likely follow in the footsteps of Nintendo by making its announcements via webcast.

Several other major tech conferences this year have already been cancelled due to the viral outbreak, such as Mobile World Congress, Facebook’s F8 summit and Google’s I/O.