The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has announced that E3 will return as a “reimagined, all-virtual” event this year. It will take place between June 12-15 and feature most major game publishers and developers.
Last year’s event was the first E3 to be fully canceled. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization felt that it wouldn’t be wise to hold a social gathering of that size. No other in-person events in the gaming industry took place, as we all did our best to follow social distancing rules.
A year later, the coronavirus still presents a massive threat to public health. The world isn’t ready for a live gaming conference just yet. Rather than canceling it again, the folks at ESA have decided to hold the 2021 event digitally. We assume this will be a series of live streams, but it’s hard to guess what else they have in store.
Gaming giants Xbox, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Konami, Capcom, Warner Bros. Games, Take-Two Interactive, and Koch Media will participate in the expo this year. Some big names like EA, Sony, Sega, Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco, and Square Enix are still missing. However, there’s plenty of time for them to sign up.
Details about this year’s event have been circulating for some time. There were rumors that E3 was going to set up premium elements behind a paywall. However, a week ago, the organization revealed the show will be a free event for all attendees.
Unfortunately, no specific details as to what the format will look like have been released yet.
The only hints come from ESA President and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis. He said that they’re “evolving this year’s E3 into a more inclusive event, but it will still look to excite the fans with major reveals and insider opportunities that make this event the indispensable center stage for video games.” According to Pierre-Louis, many developers will showcase their new games, and there will be many feeds to watch.
Judging from what we’ve seen in the previous events, we can expect everything from new PC and mobile games to eSports and AAA debuts. We should get more updates about the event schedule and the new digital-only format from the ESA in the following weeks.
Attending E3 2021 virtually shouldn’t be too much trouble. Most gaming enthusiasts have already adapted to watching events like this online, especially given how popular streaming services such as Twitch are.
ESA plans for E3 to return as an in-person event in 2022. Hopefully, the COVID-19 pandemic will be in everyone’s rearview mirror by then.