E3 is officially dead, and it is time for games industry professionals across the globe to pay respects. Many developers, including Hideo Kojima, Cory Barlog, and Harvey Smith, have shared their memories and thoughts about the end of what was once the biggest industry event with nearly 30 years of history.

E3 is dead, and game devs pay respects to legendary expo — including Hideo Kojima, Harvey Smith, and Scott Miller

What happened?

On December 12, the Entertainment Software Association announced its decision to “bring E3 to a close.”

“We know the entire industry, players and creators alike have a lot of passion for E3,” ESA president Stanley Pierre-Louis told The Washington Post. “We share that passion. We know it’s difficult to say goodbye to such a beloved event, but it’s the right thing to do given the new opportunities our industry has to reach fans and partner.”

By “new opportunities” Pierre-Louis probably means the rise of online video game conferences held by publishers and platform holders to present their upcoming releases.

The history of E3 began in 1995 as a trade show for game developers and retailers. Over the years, it has evolved into the world-famous event featuring big-budget shows and presentations from companies like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. However, big publishers have started pulling their atttendance since PlayStation decided to leave E3 in 2018.

The last in-person expo took place in 2019, followed by the pandemic and a series of events that put its organizers in a shaky position. “Companies now have access to consumers and to business relations through a variety of means, including their own individual showcases,” Pierre-Louis said in a new interview.

This year, E3 was canceled because it “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.” Given the new announcment, the show’s supposed comeback is not happening anymore, unfortunately.

How did game developers react to the death of E3?

Hideo Kojima, who have participated in E3 since 1997, said he has nothing but gratitude for the expo, also praising the event for helping many Japanese game developers reach global audiences.

“Without E3, Japanese creators and titles would not have made it to the world as much as they have,” Kojima wrote. “It was easy to connect with people from all over the world by attending parties and conferences.”

Limited Run Games lead producer Audi Sorlie noted that E3 was not just a show for game reveals, but a networking platform that connected game developers from all over the world. “Shitty marketing awards shows & a super curated trailer reel in summer will never make up for the many opportunities lost with in-person events going away,” he wrote.

Sony Santa Monica creative director Cory Barlog said he “both loved and hated this show.” He recalled how he showed the demo for the first God of War for PS2, adding that seeing “how excited people were to play this new weird game starring the angry guy with chains” truly changed his whole outlook.

“I understand why this happened, but it’s heartbreaking all the same,” Alanah Pearce, a former games journalist and now a writer at Santa Monica, wrote. “E3 was like Christmas for gamers and having all the conferences take place in one week was such a treat. So many good memories spanning so many years.”

Arkane Studios co-creative director Dinga Bakaba, who worked on games like Dishonored and Deathloop, shared some memorable pictures . He also noted that it is said that he was able to attend E3 only twice: “Feels like I never got the opportunity to actually enjoy it and soak it in that it’s already gone. It will for me remain the dream that I only barely touched.”

In a thread on X (formerly Twitter), veteran game designer Harvey Smith (Deus Ex, Dishonored) recalled some of the great memories about E3: “I did have a great time at E3, especially early on. Usually hallway conversations with Clint Hocking and other friends. Smoking cigars in the rain with Ricardo Bare after Deus Ex was released.”

Former Xbox head Peter Moore noted that E3 “legitimized our medium, our industry, our passion,” while also sharing some of his memories from the show, including that famous tattoo with the release date for Halo 2. “It was fun, irreverent and disruptive,” Moore’s post reads. “It propelled gaming to the front pages and lead stories on the news each summer. It was expensive and time-consuming but ultimately worth every penny and the blood,sweat and tears.”

Xbox president Sarah Bond thanked the ESA for “driving unity in our industry and bringing the community together for decades at E3,” adding that this legacy will live on.

Scott Miller, founder of Apogee Software and creator of Duke Nukem, wrote that E3 “was the pioneer of game industry events and for 20+ years it was THE main event you had to go to.” Given that the studio has attended the expo since 1995, he has a lot of memories and photos from the good old days.

Limited Run Games development director Joe Modzeleski called the death of E3 a massive loss for the games industry. “Something of real tangible value has been replaced by something far more commercial and cynical,” he wrote. “We all know what helped kill E3, and as an industry we should all be upset.”

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