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Xbox Series X to be unveiled online after E3 cancellation

The Guardian logo The Guardian 12/03/2020 Keith Stuart
a group of people standing in front of a store: Photograph: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images © Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Microsoft will unveil its Xbox Series X console via an online event in June after it has been confirmed that the major games conference E3 has been cancelled.

The launch was set to be a major feature of the annual Los Angeles convention, which attracts 65,000 visitors a year and broadcasts press events to millions worldwide. On Wednesday, the event’s organiser, the Electronic Entertainment Association announced on its website that E3 2020 would not be taking place due to concerns over the coronavirus.

a person holding a sign: Phil Spencer. Photograph: Casey Rodgers/Invision/AP © Provided by The Guardian Phil Spencer. Photograph: Casey Rodgers/Invision/AP

Microsoft was planning to reveal major details of its next console at its annual E3 showcase – possibly including price, release date and launch titles. Soon after the announcement, Xbox chief Phil Spencer tweeted that the announcements would now take place as part of an Xbox digital event.

Reaction to the cancellation within the industry has been largely one of approval and understanding, with statements of support coming from Nintendo, Microsoft and Ubisoft.

The relevance of the event has been questioned in recent years, after Sony, Microsoft and Electronic Arts have all dropped out of exhibiting on the showfloor, preferring to promote via their own events and online streams. But as a means of concentrating global attention on the games industry, E3 has proved invaluable, and both EA and Microsoft have organised satellite events, taking place beside the LA convention centre.

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The announcement follows the cancellation of the Game Developers Conference, which was due to take place next week in San Francisco. As it stands, GamesCom, the largest games showcase in Europe, is still due to go ahead in Cologne in late August.

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