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ESA reiterates E3 will return next year

In both digital and in-person forms.

With E3 yet again absent from the gaming calendar and Geoff Keighley readying to return this week with his Summer Game Fest alternative, the ESA has re-emerged with a reminder it's planning to bring E3 back as both a digital and in-person event next year.

E3's future has been looking increasingly uncertain in recent times, given the ESA's continuing struggle to adequately adapt the show in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The event has been cancelled twice in the last three years - first in 2020 and again this year - with 2021's virtual event proving to be a decidedly lacklustre affair.

But even before coronavirus, E3's domination of the gaming calendar was growing ever-more wobbly, as an increasing number of publishers - including Sony, EA, and Activision - all abandoned the show in order to focus on their own bespoke events outside of the E3 umbrella.

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None of that is deterring the ESA though, it seems. Building on remarks it made following E3 2022's cancellation in March, the organisation has now reiterated its plans to bring the show back in full next year. "We’re excited about coming back in 2023 with both a digital and an in-person event," ESA president and CEO Stan Pierre-Louis told The Washington Post in an interview.

"As much as we love these digital events, and as much as they reach people and we want that global reach," he continued, "we also know that there’s a really strong desire for people to convene — to be able to connect in person and see each other and talk about what makes games great."

Pierre-Louis insisted he believes E3 still has a place, even as more and more publishers are favouriting their own showcases. "I think there is a space for a physical show," he said. "I think there’s an importance of having digital reach. Combining those two, I think there is a critical element of what we think E3 can provide."

The void left by this year's E3 cancellation has, of course, once again been filled by Geoff keighley's Summer Game Fest. The main event, a two-hour livestream "spectacular", begins this Thursday, 9th June, at 7pm in the UK, promising premieres, gameplay demos, and news from over 30 developers and publishers - including the likes of 2K, Bandai Namco, Capcom, EA, PlayStation, Square Enix, and Xbox.

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