• ESA said E3 2023 "did not garner" enough interest
  • Its CEO cited disrupted game development timelines and economic headwinds as reasons
  • E3 was canceled for the first time in over 25 years in 2020

The 2023 edition of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), which was scheduled to be held in June, has been canceled following a lack of interest among the industry's key players. Multiple gaming giants, including Nintendo, Xbox and Sony, had pulled out of the show.

The annual trade event, considered the biggest gaming show in the world, is organized by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and is held at the Los Angeles Convention Center in California.

"ReedPop and the Entertainment Software Association have announced that both the digital and physical events for E3 2023 are canceled," E3 said in a Twitter post Thursday.

In an email sent to its members Thursday, ESA said this year's expo "simply did not garner the sustained interest necessary to execute it in a way that would showcase the size, strength, and impact of our industry," IGN reported. While ESA reiterated its commitment to advocacy, it reportedly did not mention anything about possibly reviving the show in the coming years.

"This was a difficult decision because of all the effort we and our partners put toward making this event happen, but we had to do what's right for the industry and what's right for E3," Kyle Marsden-Kish, the global VP of gaming at event organizer ReedPop, said in an email to The Verge.

Marsden-Kish added the company will work with ESA on future E3 events, signaling a possible revival in the future.

The official cancelation of E3 2023 came after some of the industry's biggest players backed out of the event.

In late January, IGN reported that Xbox, Sony and Nintendo would not be part of the gaming industry show. Xbox CEO Phil Spencer had previously said the gaming giant would return to Los Angeles for a summer showcase but did not confirm whether it would actually take part in E3.

Earlier this month, Microsoft confirmed it would not have a physical presence at E3 2023 but would be part of E3 Digital Week.

"Assassin's Creed" publisher Ubisoft on Monday said it will pull out of the Los Angeles event – a reversal of its previous statement that it would have a presence at the gaming trade show, Kotaku reported.

One day before ReedPop announced the cancelation of E3 2023, IGN reported that "Sonic the Hedgehog" publisher Sega and "League of Legends" owner Tencent have backed out of the event. "After careful consideration, we have decided not to participate in E3 2023 as an exhibitor," Sega told the outlet.

Explaining the decision to cancel the event, ESA president and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis told that the expo was "off to a strong start due to the interest of industry players and exhibitors," but there were also "challenges that proved too large to surmount."

The changes in game development timelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic downturn have forced some gaming players to "reassess how they invest in large marketing events," the CEO added.

Pierre-Louis said ESA will listen to the concerns and suggestions from industry players and stakeholders before taking a decision on next year's edition.

The event was canceled last year also after it was initially planned as a virtual conference. The event was pulled off successfully in 2021 as a digital show, with Ubisoft unveiling "Avatar" on the opening day. Microsoft and Nintendo also had their own presentations.

The gaming trade expo, which began in 1995, was canceled for the first time in 2020 amid concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In photo: Game enthusiasts and industry personnel visit the 'Fortnite' exhibit during the Electronic Entertainment Expo E3 at the Los Angeles Convention Center on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Christian Petersen/Getty Images