Jun 1, 2022 - Technology

Video game industry's June hype season is quieter this year

Photo of people standing in line at a convention center. On the right, a person holds a sign that reads: 'end of the line'

E3 2019. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The games industry’s annual June promotional circus will be a little quieter this year, as publishers telegraph difficulties filling out 2022’s release calendar.

Driving the news: There’s no Electronic Entertainment Expo this year, no giant trade show packing the Los Angeles Convention Center in the second week of June. But some smaller events, starting this week, will make that void feel less empty.

Many notable companies that usually held E3 press conferences are holding lower-key events, skipping them or, in some cases, it's still not clear what they're doing.

  • Sony PlayStation skipped recent E3 events but will hold a State of Play digital showcase tomorrow. The event is slated to feature third-party games and PSVR2 titles, but it’s unclear when Sony will clarify which big games, if any, it plans to release for PS4/PS5 in the second half of the year.
  • Microsoft will air an online showcase on Sunday, June 12. It has promised updates on games from its Xbox and Bethesda studios, but what near-future releases it can deliver are unknown. The most anticipated Xbox/Bethesda games for 2022, Starfield and Redfall, were recently delayed to 2023.
  • EA is not holding its annual EA Play showcase, opting for more game-specific showcase moments like last week’s Star Wars Jedi: Survivor reveal.
  • Nintendo hasn’t even announced a June showcase, despite having held one nearly every year for the past two decades. It waited until June 2, 2021, to announce last year’s June 15 event, so it’s not quite too late to rule them out.
  • Ubisoft had held E3-timed showcases annually in June for years, but a company rep tells Axios the publisher won't have another until "later this year."

A collection of multi-publisher showcases might color things in a bit:

And then there are the one-offs:

  • Sega is hyping its next Sonic the Hedgehog game through a monthlong partnership with IGN.
  • The Pokémon Company just revealed a Nov. 18 release date for the next games in that series in a new trailer this morning.

Between the lines: There hasn’t been a normal June hype season for games since 2019.

  • Many events, including E3 itself, were canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic.
  • Publishers produced more showcases last year though skipped having any in-person events.

The bottom line: A quieter June for the game industry will still make noise, just not quite as much as we’d probably hear if companies weren’t struggling to produce high-quality games through two years running of pandemic-impacted production difficulties.

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