San Diego Comic-Con has just announced the show will not go on, at least not in person. For the second time in 50 years — the first was last year — Comic-Con has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There’ll still be a virtual event from July 23rd to the 25th, and organizers are planning a three-day in-person convention tentatively set for November, but they’re clear that the full shebang has been postponed until 2022 — and offering refunds and rollovers as appropriate.
And it’s not the only big California geek gathering that’s not going to happen: the Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism has filed documents (PDF) that show that the biggest US video game and anime shows — E3 and Anime Expo — have also ditched their in-person gatherings (via ResetEra and Kotaku).
E3 typically draws upwards of 60,000 attendees while Anime Expo can attract over 100,000, so they’re big losses for tourism that the city will be discussing later this week.
Mind you, the Entertainment Software Association that runs E3 already hinted that it would be “transforming” its showcase, so a virtual event wouldn’t be much of a surprise. Anime Expo held a successful virtual event last year that drew 500,000 viewers, and it sounds like organizers will try that again. Neither E3 nor Anime Expo organizers have technically confirmed that their events won’t be happening in-person yet, but the city would know. An ESA spokesperson would only reaffirm that they’re “transforming” E3, and that “we’ll have official details very soon.”