The Coronavirus outbreak has struck a silencing blow to many industries across the globe, including the game industry. And for the first time in gaming history, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) event, gaming's biggest annual conference,, has closed its doors.

E3 2020 is canceled

The official news on the cancellation was issued by the show's organizer, the ESA that reads, "After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry – our fans, our employees, our exhibitors, and our longtime E3 partners – we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020."

The statement added, "Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation."

E3 2020 was originally scheduled to function between June 9 and 11 in Los Angeles.

The ESA promised the show would go on amidst the outbreak sweeping the globe, but now it seems overwhelming fear and losses from the outbreak have ultimately shafted those plans.

Among the several gaming companies that planned to showcase their offerings to the market this year, Microsoft and Nintendo--only two of the infamous "big three"--were planning to attend. That left Sony, who decided to skip this year's event for the second time in favor of their own venue. Besides E3, South by Southwest (SXSW), another gaming venue has been canceled in fear of spreading the infection.

E3 becoming more irrelevant

Although the Coronavirus outbreak had posed a challenge to the ESA during preparation for the E3 2020 event, it was the least of the organization's worries heading into 2020.

Long before this crisis, E3 was already facing the challenge of remaining relevant in a shifting industry. Throughout the 2010s, competition grew larger with the prevalence of other showcases, including PAX, PSX, Gamescom, and more.

Things would take a turn for the worse when Nintendo, one of the big three companies, decided to present its showcase directly through streaming in the form of 'Nintendo Direct.' Although Nintendo continued its annual appearance at E3 in some capacity--offering booths and stage demos in the form of its 'Nintendo Treehouse' stage event--the message was clear that major companies no longer invested heavily in these showcases.

Sony would drive the point home when it began skipping the event altogether last year and instead offered its own streaming showcase called 'State of Play.'

A Global pandemic

The Coronavirus poses a clear and present danger for many entertainment industries throughout the world. Since it's the emergence in China earlier this year, this respiratory strain has struck down many companies and events, leaving massive losses to revenue and life in its wake.

And the same could befall near-future events. On the bright side, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, two upcoming next-gen consoles are on track to being released in late 2020. But both launches could still be impacted by the outbreak.