“Covering, hosting and sharing E3 has been a highlight of my year, not to mention a defining part of my career,” Keighley said in a statement to The Washington Post Wednesday. “While I want to support the developers who will showcase their work, I also need to be open and honest with you, the fans, about precisely what to expect from me. I have made the difficult decision to decline to produce E3 Coliseum.”
When asked why he’s bowing out, Keighley said E3, created by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), needs to evolve as an event.
“Based on what’s been communicated to me about the show, I just don’t feel comfortable participating,” Keighley told The Post. “It’s no secret that E3 needs to evolve and I have lots of ideas around that, but have decided to take a wait-and-see approach. I’m looking forward to learning more about the ESA’s vision for the show beyond what was in the blog post last week.“
The ESA sent The Post a brief statement about Keighley’s announcement.
“Geoff has been, and continues to be, a strong industry advocate and champion," wrote the ESA in its statement. "He played a critical role in developing E3 Coliseum, a platform reintroduced three years ago that brought fans together for important conversations with industry luminaries and leaders in celebration of video games. We appreciate his contributions and hope to have future collaborations. In 2020, we look forward to presenting a reimagined E3 that will connect and delight fans worldwide.”
The ESA also touted its new vision for E3 in a press release sent to The Post shortly after the announcement of Keighley’s departure.
“We are working to make E3 2020 a more interactive and immersive experience with a show floor that will amplify our exhibitors, their innovations, and announcements,” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, President and CEO of the ESA, in the release sent to The Post.
As a trade event, E3 has been the biggest event of the year for the gaming industry, but the show’s importance and popularity has diminished in recent years. Sony has been the most notable recent exit, opting to bow out of the show for the second year in a row, even with PlayStation 5 expected to hit the market this holiday season.
“After thorough evaluation, SIE has decided not to participate in E3 2020,” a Sony Interactive Entertainment spokesperson told GamesIndustry.biz earlier this year. “We have great respect for the ESA as an organization, but we do not feel the vision of E3 2020 is the right venue for what we are focused on this year.”
Nintendo famously opted out of a live appearance years ago, relying on its popular Direct format to make announcements online.
The decisions by Sony and Keighley to sit out the show also comes in the wake of an incident last summer in which personal details of thousands of attendees, including addresses and phone numbers, were obtained via a leaked ESA document. In September, another internal document about rebranding the show reportedly leaked as well.