Oculus, the parent company behind the VR headset Oculus Rift, has stirred up excitement at its yearly hands-on experience at E3. However, despite having been there every year without fail since 2014, Oculus has announced that it will not be present at E3 2017.
Oculus didn't offer an exact reason behind its absence, and it's not the only major gaming company to withdraw this year, with EA also opting out of E3 2017. Oculus may have chosen to refrain from attending this year due to the fact that it doesn't have any new hardware or peripherals to showcase. Other gaming booths that rely upon the Oculus Rift in order to offer a virtual reality experience and incorporate motion controls will most likely continue to use the Oculus Rift, so in some shape or form, attendees can expect Oculus to still have an impact on the event.
Another factor that may be contributing to Oculus' absence may due to financial troubles. The company recently slashed the price of the Oculus Rift and Touch controllers in order to entice players, just a short while after a report that Best Buy was discontinuing its Oculus Rift demo stations due to a lack of interest. Oculus has also been slammed with lawsuits and injunctions from Zenimax Media, which have not only sought $6 billion in damages from the company but attempted to stop the sale of the system outright. Oculus may be taking the time to focus on reinvigorating interest in its virtual reality system while simultaneously defending itself from a lawsuit that could potentially shutter the company, should Oculus lose.
Regardless of its reasoning for not attending, adding another major gaming company to the list of non-attendees for E3 probably has the Entertainment Software Association feeling a tad nervous. While E3 is one of the biggest video game showcases on the planet and serves as the launchpad for a great number of game announcements every year, it's seen fewer companies attending. EA will again host EA Play, its own alternative event which began in 2016, which will once again be open to the public. However, E3 is also opening its doors to the public after years of being an industry officials-only event, probably in an attempt to bring back major game developers and to compete with gamer-friendly events like the PlayStation Experience.
Time will tell if Oculus will return to E3 in 2018, but with sales dwindling and a major lawsuit pending, it's not a certainty at this point.
E3 2017 will be held from June 13th to June 17th.