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Xbox 2022 Showcase Date Proves The Industry Isn't Over E3

Microsoft has announced that it will be hosting a showcase of its upcoming projects from Xbox and Bethesda on June 12, 2022, a date that suggests the games industry hasn’t entirely abandoned the traditions of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly known as E3. After speculation that it would return in an all-digital format once again, E3 2022 was instead canceled altogether. The long-running summertime industry event has frequently had its relevancy and necessity questioned, but Xbox keeping its typical showcase time slot reveals that even without the trade show, E3 lives on in some capacity.

For its first decade or so, E3 took place in May (with E3 1997 being an exception) before switching to July for a brief two years. Since 2009, the trade show has taken place in June and Microsoft has routinely been one of the larger exhibitors. Although E3 won’t happen this year, Microsoft’s upcoming offerings for Xbox and PC will still be promoted on practically the exact same day the company has used for the last five years. Xbox and Bethesda’s E3 2021 showcase was on June 14, the second Sunday of the month. Microsoft held its conference on the second Sunday of June in 2017, 2018, and 2019 as well, with this 2022 showcase following suit; only 2020 is an outlier, since E3 was canceled that year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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It’s entirely possible that this year’s Xbox presentation was already in the works, planned for E3 2022 while its status was still up in the air. Instead, Microsoft will host the livestream semi-independently. Summer seems to be the industry’s favored marketing season, perhaps because it lets developers and publishers promote games well ahead of the holiday season, when sales spikes are expected. This period has slowly been morphing into Summer Game Fest, a self-proclaimed celebration of video games that has encompassed multiple presentations and digital events over the last few years.

Summer Game Fest returning in June 2022 for its third straight year in the wake of E3’s cancelation throws the latter’s existence further into the question of necessity. The former is typically a more loose collection of gaming events, and this year’s line up will include the Xbox and Bethesda showcase on June 12, according to the Summer Game Fest website. Microsoft’s unsurprising scheduling and the continuation of Summer Game Fest show there’s still some major industry interest in continuing the spirit of E3, even if the trade show is gradually going by the wayside. The Entertainment Software Association, the non-profit that organizes E3, told IGN that a 2023 return may still be a possibility, but if the industry continues on without the trade show, the difference in presentation is negligible to the average viewer.

Originally designed for those who work in the industry, E3 has become less relevant every year as it has shifted toward the widely viewed conferences as its main focus. The playable demos on the show floor are wonderful for those able to attend, and it’s likely still a major networking hub every year, but gamers eagerly await E3 almost solely because of the reveals and announcements it always brings. An in-person event, with showcases for three or more consecutive days is just unnecessary with the prevalence of live-streaming. The upcoming Xbox showcase simultaneously proves there’s room for a promotional window like E3 while also showing that a dedicated event for such an occasion is perhaps obsolete.

Next: How E3 Gave a Big Boost to Small Games

Source: IGN, Summer Game Fest

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