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Xbox plans digital event to replace E3 conference

UPDATE: Nintendo and Square Enix exploring other ways to deliver news on products in absence of June trade show

Original story, March 11, 2020: Xbox will host a digital event to replace its planned E3 appearance.

The platform holder had announced plans to showcase its new console, Xbox Series X, at the show in Los Angeles in June. However, the annual games showcase was cancelled following concerns around the spread of the cornoavirus COVID-19.

Xbox boss Phil Spencer tweeted: "E3 has always been an important moment for Team Xbox. Given this decision, this year we'll celebrate the next generation of gaming with the @Xbox community and all who love to play via an Xbox digital event. Details on timing and more in the coming weeks".

E3 organsiers the ESA has already stated it intends to support a digital version of the show. The firm said in a statement: "We are also exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020. Updates will be shared on E3expo.com."

GamesIndustry.biz has contacted other games publishers who were planning to attend the show to discover their plans following the news of E3's cancellation.

Update: Ubisoft released its own statement on Twitter saying it fully supports the ESA's decision to cancel E3 and is "exploring other options for a digital experience that will allow us to share all the exciting news we have planned."

Additionally, Limited Run Games has confirmed that it will proceed with its previously announced live Twitch streamed press conference on June 8 at 3pm Eastern.

Update, March 12, 2020: Nintendo has also issued a response, supporting the ESA's decision to cancel E3 and hinted it at digital-only alternatives.

In a statement issued to GameSpot, the platform holder said: "We would like to express our concern and support for all those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak during this challenging time.

"We"ll continue to be flexible and redirect our efforts to other ways of keeping our fans up to date about our activities and products. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, large industry events may be untenable for the foreseeable future. But we are considering various ways to engage with our fans and will have more to share as the year continues."

The company usually delivers its big announcements via a Nintendo Direct presentation, which will likely still happen, but delves deeper into them with the Nintendo Treehouse livestreams from the show floor.

Update, March 13, 2020: Square Enix is the latest publisher to state its support for the ESA's decision to cancel E3.

In a statement released via Twitter, the company said it is "exploring other options" to share details on its 2020 lineup and next-generation titles in lieu of a press conference in June.

Additional reporting by Brendan Sinclair and James Batchelor

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