San Diego Comic-Con, E3, and Anime Expo cancel geek gatherings for the second year in a row

San Diego Comic-Con has announced this year’s show will not go on, at least not in person, and the 2021 Anime Expo has now officially canceled its physical event as well.

That’s the second time in 50 years — the first was last year — that 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.

They’re not the only California geek gatherings that aren’t going to happen: the Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism has filed documents (PDF) that show that the biggest US video game show — E3, aka the Electronic Entertainment Expo — has also ditched its in-person gathering (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 seriously discussing.

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 dubbed Anime Expo Lite, and organizers will try that once more.

E3 has not 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.”

Update March 3rd, 3:17PM ET: Anime Expo has now confirmed its in-person event has been canceled, for the second year in a row.

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