According to Game Informer, amidst concerns regarding the Omicron strain, the Entertainment Software Association has announced that the Electronic Entertainment Expo of 2022 will not be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The ESA stated, “Due to the ongoing health risks surrounding COVID-19 and its potential impact on the safety of exhibitors and attendees, E3 will not be held in person in 2022.” This marks the third consecutive year that an in-person event has been canceled.

What does this mean for E3?

While many, including the Mayor of Los Angeles, expressed hope that the event would be held at the LA Convention Center, the rise of infections and deaths have put the kibosh on those plans.

Last year's E3 was a digital-only event, but there's no word yet if this year will follow suit. This decision directly contrasts the Consumer Electronics Show, which was held in person at the Las Vegas Convention Center despite criticism and dropouts. While last year's CES was cut one day short due to concerns over the pandemic, CES 2022 was a full three day event.

Since E3 is a major media event where developers, publishers, and journalists from all over the world gather together, it's likely that the risk of infection was considered to be too great. Former Game Informer editor Mike Futter claims that the decision to cancel an in-person event was made as far back as November last year.

The ESA has yet to disclose its plans for this year now that an in-person event is out of the question.

It's not known whether the event will be digital or canceled altogether. Still, the ESA stated, “We are nonetheless excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon.”

How bad is the Omicron strain?

The latest mutation was first discovered in South Africa and has spread globally. The level of risk with this new strain has been hotly debated among health officials.

While early studies have reported less severe cases, other scientists such as Dr. Pamela Davis of Case Western Reserve University warn that the elderly are still very susceptible to this latest strain, stating, "You don't get off scot-free just because you happen to be infected in the time of omicron." Make no mistake: people are still dying from this new strain.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention highly recommends those who can receive their COVID-19 vaccines or get a booster if it's been six months since a second jab. They also highly advise others to wear masks or low ventilated areas with crowds when entering buildings. Lastly, basic hygiene such as hand washing after being in public is an effective method of preventing Covid and other diseases that might take up valuable space in ICUs.