The City of Los Angeles has announced a state of emergency due to the spread of the coronavirus. For the video game industry, this puts a spotlight on the Entertainment Software Association, which is the organization that oversees E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo) in L.A. every June. In response to this latest news, the ESA says it is paying close attention to the situation.
Here’s the ESA’s statement:
“The health and safety of our attendees, exhibitors, partners, and staff is our top priority. While the ESA continues to plan for a safe and successful E3 show June 9-11, 2020—we are monitoring and evaluating the situation daily.”
“Our E3 team and partners continue to monitor COVID-19 via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). We are actively assessing the latest information and will continue to develop measures to further reduce health risks at the show.”
While the ESA says it is taking this seriously, it also clarified what the L.A. state of emergency means. This designation doesn’t mean that Los Angeles is falling apart due to disease. Instead, this enables the city to request additional funding.
E3 2020 already had numerous questions surrounding its viability. Sony is skipping the expo, and more people than ever are loudly wondering what purpose E3 still serves. Now, the ESA must somehow answer those questions while also dealing with real safety concerns related to coronavirus.
E3 2020 is one of many industry events facing down coronavirus concerns
E3 is not the only major gathering facing coronavirus troubles. Last week, organizers decided to postpone the Game Developers Conference industry event in San Francisco. GDC was going to begin later this March. Now, this event might happen in the summer.
In early February, the GSMA organization cancelled its annual Mobile World Congress event in Spain. And since then a number of smaller events for companies like Google and Microsoft have turned to online-only presentations.
Even the summer Olympics in Japan, which are supposed to begin in late July, are working through similar concerns.
If the ESA does end up canceling E3, it could put an even greater emphasis on the questions surrounding the show’s future. Companies pulled out of the expensive show even before coronavirus had a name. If no show happens in 2020, will anyone return for an E3 2021?