One of the first indicators back in 2020 that the COVID-19 infection has grown to worrying levels was the cancellation of annual events that are known to generate massive crowds of people. First it was the international events, since they risked drawing people from COVID-positive countries. Then the local events inside respective countries followed. And when COVID was declared a pandemic, the world all but shut down. Initially, various event organizers were optimistic that vaccines for the virus would enable the 2021 editions to open as normal. Now it is 2021, but even with vaccinations ongoing, the situation was still precarious for “old normal” events.

Because of that, as The Verge reports, three bastions of popular entertainment expositions have announced that there will be no in-person gatherings involved in their events for this year. They are the 2021 San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), as well as the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) and Anime Expo. The SDCC made its announcement over the past weekend, noting that they feel the rate of vaccination against COVID-19 in the US will not be enough to remove worries for when the con will kick off July 23. Thus, they are returning to the virtual Comic-Con@Home event.

Following suit are the in-person E3 and Anime Expo for 2021. The cancellations of their gatherings were confirmed by files from the Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism. It could not be helped either. On average and E3 could gather an assembly in the neighborhood of 60,000 people. Anime Expo is worse; they can manage up to 100,000. Actually, E3 going virtual again was seen coming for some time, as the Entertainment Software Association which holds it has been talking of “transforming” their flagship event. Meanwhile, Anime Expo’s own digital event for 2020 actually drew half a million online viewers, so on LA is hurting for lost economic opportunities.

While there is overlap in their media showcases, the SDCC primarily deals with the latest developments in comic book and graphic novel publishers, plus their possible media adaptations on TV, film and games. E3 is the big videogame event in the US, while Anime Expo celebrates manga and anime in general. You can however see cosplayers on all these events however, so they can bleed into each other with hype. The fact that all these events are in California means San Diego and Los Angeles remain concerned about falling tourism revenue with COVID remaining bothersome.

Image courtesy of Yahoo! News