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Following the coronavirus outbreak and cancellation of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), which would have taken place June 9-11 in Los Angeles, video game companies — from mid-level to major studios — are dealing with the repercussions.
While some are exploring alternative options for game exhibition and to share news, others are launching digital events to celebrate the game industry in this uncertain time.
Los Angeles-based video game business engine Xsolla, which offers tools and services for creators, tells The Hollywood Reporter: “We completely understand the need for caution and the cancellation of E3, but of course we were disappointed. Since the show is one of the largest in our industry and it is in our backyard, it is always easier to fully staff and do more business there.”
Earlier this week, THR revealed that Xsolla would host a “virtual Game Developer’s Carnival” as an alternative to exhibiting at the postponed Game Developers Conference, which was to take place in San Francisco next week. The company describes the event as a “fun and creative way to continue doing business, while remaining safe at home.”
Meanwhile, Japanese video game developer and publisher Square Enix said in a statement, “As the world has echoed and united, nothing is more important than protecting the health and well-being of our employees and their families, our partners, and unquestionably, our fans. We support the ESA’s decision to cancel E3 and send our strongest and heartfelt appreciation to everyone that works tirelessly to bring unforgettable games and experiences to E3.” In moving forward, they will be “exploring other options” to share their new games.
French company Ubisoft said in its public statement, “The health and well-being of teams, players and partners is our top priority, so while we’re disappointed, we fully support the ESA’s decision to cancel E3 2020.” Ubisoft also stated that it is “exploring other options for a digital experience that will allow us to share all the exciting news we have planned.”
Video game company XSEED Games, founded by former members of Square Enix, noted the loss of exposure tied to E3’s cancellation. Ken Berry, president and CEO, told THR, “As a smaller publisher with limited chances for the type of large media exposure that E3 can provide, we are disappointed to lose out on this opportunity in our own backyard of Los Angeles, but are appreciative of the ESA’s proactive move on making the tough decision to cancel early rather than later.”
Berry added, “Our first priority is the health and safety of our employees and partners, and we look forward to sharing more information as soon as possible.”
Game publisher Deep Silver, founded in Germany and headquartered in California, communicated with THR about its own response to the unprecedented situation. “Naturally Deep Silver is disappointed at the cancellation of E3. However, the safety of our and all other video game publishers’ staff, as well as the general public, should remain as the number one priority in these unprecedented times,” wrote Klemens Kundratitz, CEO of Deep Silver Inc. and Koch Media GmbH, in a statement. Deep Silver is known for titles such as Saints Row, Metro and the Dead Island series.
Elsewhere, Xbox head Phil Spencer also addressed the concerns via Twitter, writing, “E3 has always been an important moment for Team Xbox. 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.”
Since the coronavirus began spreading in Wuhan, China, and throughout the world, it has affected over 144,000 people in over 137 countries and caused more than 5,300 deaths. In the wake of the outbreak, numerous other events have been canceled or postponed, while many tech companies such as Nintendo of America have asked their teams to self-quarantine following an employee being exposed to the virus.
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