E3's showfloor design team has now dropped out

By Heidi Nicholas,
E3 is planned for the 9th to the 11th of June, but with the city of Los Angeles now in a state of emergency, ESA — Entertainment Software Association — say they are "monitoring and evaluating the situation daily" ahead of the event. Meanwhile, Microsoft and Sony are both closing offices and sending employees home.

In the wake of ESA's E3 update, it now appears the event will suffer a further blow: iam8bit, the Creative Directors for E3's showfloor experience, has now pulled out of the event (thanks, Push Square). In their own words, iam8bit "is a creative production company that refuses to be pigeonholed, having crafted unique and memorable experiences" which "come in many forms — from events to one-of-a-kind mailers to commercials and films." The company say the decision was made with "mixed emotions", but their message is clear; they've resigned completely from the position. Their announcement doesn't give a particular reason for this decision; nor does it mention the Coronavirus specifically, although it does seem to be one likely reason. Either way, this development will certainly be a blow, especially as E3 is already seems to be generally considered as having a somewhat uncertain future.

ESA said in a statement to PC Gamer that "We can confirm that iam8bit is no longer part of the inter-agency group working on E3 2020... We greatly value their passion for the video game industry and the contributions they brought toward our vision for this year’s show. We have an innovative and experienced team in place including Endeavor’s creative agency 160over90, event innovators Mat+Lo and longtime E3 partners, GES, Dolaher Events and Double Forte—all collaborating to bring to life an exciting and authentic experience for fans, the media and the industry.”

E3 was already facing issues before the impact of the Coronavirus became more pronounced. Geoff Keighley's announcement that he won't be participating at E3 for the first time in 25 years seemed to echo other opinions about the likelihood of the event's future. It seems that this year will prove crucial for E3, and we'll keep you updated with further announcements.


In their latest E3 update, the ESA say: "The health and safety of our attendees, exhibitors, partners, and staff is our top priority. While the ESA continues to plan for a safe and successful E3 show June 9-11, 2020—we are monitoring and evaluating the situation daily. Our E3 team and partners continue to monitor COVID-19 via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). We are actively assessing the latest information and will continue to develop measures to further reduce health risks at the show."

The update mentions that the state of emergency for the city of Los Angeles means that the city and the county "qualify for additional funding needed to prepare for COVID-19 in the future" and that officials will "continue to prioritize measures and guidelines that are focused on cleanliness and safety." Aside from the general advice for staying healthy, the update adds that the LA Convention Center will take extra steps, such as more hand sanitizing areas and by "enhancing their ability to address any attendees who become ill while on site."

Preparations for the impact of COVID-19 are being felt across the world. Microsoft is advising that any employees based in Seattle or San Francisco who could work from home should do so. These guidelines are in place until March 25th, but Microsoft says they'll keep "continuously monitoring the situation and adjusting guidance as appropriate." Meanwhile, Sony has, according to the BBC, closed offices across Europe; in London, Paris, and Gdynia in Poland.

As of today, the ESA are still pushing ahead with plans for E3, but are taking extra steps and precautions to prepare for such a large group of people. They say they'll be monitoring the situation constantly — we'll let you know if anything changes.
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Hey, I'm Heidi! I've just finished studying a Masters in English Literature, but I've been obsessed with gaming since long before then. I began on the PS2 with Spyro, before graduating to the Xbox 360 and disappearing into Skyrim. I'm now a loyal RPG fan, but I still like to explore other genres — when I'm not playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey, or being lured back into Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Witcher 3!