ESA Responds to IGN’s E3 2023 Report: Reviving Show ‘Was Always Going to Have Its Challenges’

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The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has addressed IGN’s report that Xbox, Nintendo, and Sony won’t be formally taking part in E3, voicing its support for ReedPop in a message to members and saying that the organizer has made “strong progress” in reshaping the event. [Disclosure: I am a former ReedPop employee, where I ran USgamer until 2020].

The message, which was obtained by IGN and subsequently confirmed to be authentic, can be viewed below.

As you have likely seen, IGN published an article last night about E3. While we are not able to comment on the specific claims in the article, we wanted to share our commitment to moving forward with E3.

E3 has a rich history within our industry, and we are always heartened to feel the passion for the show and hear what it means to different people. Reviving a tradeshow after a three-year hiatus and a global pandemic was always going to have its challenges, which is why we conducted an extensive search (in consultation with the ESA member companies) to identify the best partner to produce E3. In selecting ReedPOP as our partner, we have been able to tap into their rich history of hosting popular industry events, like PAX, and broader consumer shows, like Comic Con.

They have made strong progress in reshaping the event and have received tremendous support from industry companies of all sizes who are not only thinking about E3 2023, but how E3 fits into marketing plans for 2024 and beyond.

It’s important to note that even as the show evolves and adapts, it will not impact the core of ESA’s work for its member companies. Our priority remains advocating for your policy interests on the state and federal level.

We will share news and developments regarding E3 as they are available. If you have questions in the meantime, feel free to reach out to me. Thank you for your ongoing support.

The ESA partnered with ReedPop last year to revive E3, which has not had a physical event since 2019. IGN understands that Nintendo and Xbox were initially interested in having a presence at the event, but that both had to pull out for reasons unrelated to the show itself. VGC has since reported that Nintendo opted not to take part in the event due to a light second half release schedule not justifying the event space — information that IGN can corroborate.

Xbox, meanwhile, is understood to be hosting a separate physical showcase the weekend before E3 2023, which is currently set to be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 13 to June 16. Xbox CEO Phil Spencer previously confirmed that Microsoft would be returning to Los Angeles for its annual summer showcase.

Elsewhere, publishers have expressed dissatisfaction with ReedPop’s handling of E3, with one source openly wondering how the show can go on when so much of the event seems to be in the air.

“There’s not a good sense that there’s an understanding what this show is going to be or how it will come together, which is strange from a company that does such an amazing job with PAX twice a year,” they told IGN in our report yesterday. “It seemed like they’d be the perfect shepherds for something like E3. So who knows where the issue is: Is it an ESA issue? Is it a ReedPop issue?… But there seems to be a lot of genuine interest from game publishers in the concept of E3, but it’s really frustrating that we don’t have good solutions.”

IGN has reached out to representatives from the ESA and ReedPop and will update this story as necessary. Nintendo, Xbox, and PlayStation representatives did not return earlier requests for comment.

This story was updated to remove unconfirmed information that ReedPop was assisting Xbox in hosting a physical showcase separate from E3.

Kat Bailey is a Senior News Editor at IGN as well as co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Have a tip? Send her a DM at @the_katbot.