One of the largest arenas for the videogame industry has been canceled.

By Nick Romano
March 11, 2020 at 12:10 PM EDT
People experience Virtual Clubbing wearing Redpill VR goggles at the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo, also known as E3, in Los Angeles on June 11, 2019. - Gaming fans and developers gather, connecting thousands of the brightest, best and most innovative in the interactive entertainment industry and a chance for many to preview new games. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Faced with "overwhelming concerns" about the spread of coronavirus in the United States, the Entertainment Software Association officially moved to cancel E3 2020, one of the largest arenas for the videogame industry.

Word circulated earlier that a cancellation seemed likely, but organizers made it official on Wednesday with a formal 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 – we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020, scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles," the statement reads. "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."

The ESA promised its team will be "reaching out directly to exhibitors and attendees with information about providing full refunds." In addition, the group has plans to explore "online experience" options in order to "showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020." Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, reiterated this plan in a tweet following the cancellation news.

"E3 has always been an important moment for Team Xbox," he wrote. "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. Details on timing and more in the coming weeks."

Ubisoft also stated the company will be "exploring other options for a digital experience to share all the exciting news we have planned."

E3 marks an annual convention during which game developers and studios take the stage before fans and members of the industry to preview what's coming during the year and beyond. As early as March 4, the ESA was still determined to commence with E3, but noted they would be "monitoring and evaluating the situation daily."

Sony Interactive Entertainment, which is amping up for the debut of its next console Playstation 5, already planned to sit out this year's festivities for the second year in a row, but not because of the coronavirus specifically. "We do not feel the vision of E3 2020 is the right venue for what we are focused on this year," a statement in January read.

It was announced earlier that the Game Developers Conference, set for this March, was also postponed in the wake of the coronavirus. The entertainment landscape, from music to Hollywood to gaming, continues to change as the COVID-19 respiratory virus spreads to more territories. Of the larger events, the South by Southwest film and music festival was canceled and Coachella was delayed to October.

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