What Is E3? Gaming’s Biggest Annual Event, Explained

E3 is one of the largest events in the world of gaming. Historically, it’s the event at which the world’s largest gaming companies release their new consoles, or where developers debut their new games.

Arguably the biggest video game event of the year, gamers around the world anticipate its arrival in June each year. But, what is E3? What does it stand for? Here’s everything you need to know about gaming’s biggest annual event.

E3, Explained

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, was an annual trade event that was organized by the Entertainment Software Association. Attended by game developers, publishers, manufacturers, and journalists alike, E3 was one of the largest industry-only events.

Prior to 2017, attendees had to prove their professional relationship with the gaming industry before being given a pass. The event took place in June at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and was streamed globally on YouTube and other platforms.

Because of the hype surrounding E3, gaming companies and developers often used its platform to announce their latest releases. Most notably, last-gen consoles like the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One were both released during E3.

Before and during the event, game developers and publishers often hold press conferences, giving viewers a peek at their latest games or announcing new ones.

In 2020, E3 was canceled owing to the global pandemic. In 2021, E3 was held purely online, and soon after, ESA announced that the 2022 event would be canceled entirely.


There have been some really iconic moments at E3 that have shaped the video game world. During its very first year, E3 attracted more than 40,000 attendees, becoming the largest event in the video gaming world in the process.

From Gabe Newell’s appearance at Sony’s stage to announce Portal 2 to Keanu Reeves hyping up Cyberpunk 2077, there’s been no shortage of memorable events at E3.

E3 owes its success largely to its location; the event is held in Los Angeles, which is a major tourist destination. The organizers did host it in Atlanta, Georgia for two years, but there was a dramatic decrease in attendance.

Other reasons why E3 rose in popularity is that it began to support several online gaming sites, such as E365, and simply because E3 attracts all the biggest names in the industry.

Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft all use E3 to promote their latest releases. Apart from timed conferences, E3 also offers booths to developers and publishers.

Here, they can interact one on one with attendees, explain new features, or allow players to check out new games. E3’s rise in popularity can also be attributed to the rise in streaming media.

While the earlier events were fully in-person, the rise of social media platforms and YouTube allowed E3 to reach wider audiences, no doubt further enhancing its global appeal.

What the Future Holds for E3

As mentioned above, E3 2022 was canceled altogether. However, in a report to Variety, the ESA confirmed that they have plans to reinvigorate and launch E3 2023 on both digital and physical platforms.

However, Sony has completely pulled out of E3 (it hasn’t attended the event since 2018), instead focusing on its own State of Play showcase. Activision-Blizzard also doesn’t attend E3, and since Microsoft acquired it, it’s tough to say whether Microsoft would want to return.

Electronic Arts, another giant in the video gaming space, also avoids E3, instead focusing on EA Play. The absence of such big names does pose a question to E3’s relevance, especially since many larger companies now have the brand presence to host their own conferences.

There is a chance that E3 will become an event that focuses primarily on indie developers. Or, could now be the time to cancel E3 for good?

What Do You Think Will Happen to E3?

E3 has been a mainstay in the video gaming world for more than two decades. However, the world is changing. Nowadays, there are a plethora of sites that you can use to get the latest insider information or updates about new releases.

Is E3 still as relevant? Probably not as much, but that’s not to say that the ESA will just sunset it. It’s likely that the event will continue, in one form or another.

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