Nintendo, Microsoft, And Sony All Reportedly Skipping E3 2023

E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) was arguably the largest, most important exposition for the video game industry. For close to three decades, it has served as the single biggest platform for major video game companies to showcase their latest offerings in terms of games and gaming-related technologies. E3 is particularly known for being the venue for some of the most important gaming hardware launches. 

Among the most notable product launches at E3 include several generations of the Microsoft Xbox (including the original Xbox, the Xbox 360, and the Xbox One. Sony has also used E3 as a launchpad for PlayStation, leading up to the PlayStation 3. In 2017, Nintendo also announced several consoles in its history at E3. Many of the announcements from E3 have shaped the direction of the gaming industry and set the standard for each generation of gaming.

The E3 expo has taken place every year from its inception in 1995 to 2019. It was canceled for the first time following the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, only to return in an online format the very next year in 2021. The event did not take place in 2022 following continued concerns over the pandemic.

In 2023, with most of the world recovering or otherwise moving on from the pandemic, the E3 expo is set to make a return. The 2023 event is significant because it would be the first physical E3 event in four years. However, a new report by IGN indicates that three major players from the gaming space — Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo — could skip the E3 conference entirely.

Are the Big Three skipping E3 for good?

While none of these companies have formally announced their withdrawal from this year's E3 conference, IGN cites "multiple knowledgeable sources" claiming that these companies won't be part of E3 2023. Incidentally, Microsoft has confirmed that it will be holding its annual summer showcase in 2023. It is unclear at this moment whether the company intends to host it as a standalone event. 

In an interview with IGN, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer confirmed that the showcase will happen at a moment "convenient for press and even consumers." He also reiterated that Xbox continues to support E3, as well as the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which organizes the annual event. It is also unclear at this time whether the recent layoffs at Microsoft have anything to do with the decision to stay away from E3 in 2023.

As for Sony, the company seems to be habitually skipping E3 in favor of its independently produced reveals. The company also seems to be unhappy with several changes within the structure of the ESA, which has led to "ongoing frustrations" (per IGN) with the ESA for over three years. While Nintendo did not have as big a presence at E3 as Sony or Xbox, it has maintained a booth at E3 for several years — despite the company pioneering the "direct" format of events. However, the IGN report indicates that Nintendo would likely skip E3 2023 as well.

​​The absence of three of the most important exhibitors could also prove to be a major setback for E3 — and large-format tech events in general. Given the huge presence of the Big Three at E3 expos in past decades, it is yet another death knell for E3 without Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo being part of it.