The Entertainment Software Association announced last year that they would go digital for E3 2021, which will take place between the 15th and the 17th of June. Now, amid questions on what the future of games conferences will be, they have discussed their plans for this year.
Every summer since 1995, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, known as "E3", has taken place in the US. It's one of the biggest gaming conventions in the world, widely attended by games press, and is usually one of the main times and places where new announcements, reveals, and trailers can be seen for the first time.
For many of those years, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft shared the stage as presenters, but over time, various publishers have pulled back from it. In 2013, Nintendo switched to pre-recorded video announcements, Direct-style, rather than on-stage press conferences; EA, Sony, Ubisoft, Activision, and Bethesda followed suit in the following years, with some studios holding their own conferences instead of having them hosted by E3.
Last year was the first time that E3 failed to materialise, due to the pandemic reaching critical mass during the planning stages. Despite initial plans to hold a digital version, there wasn't enough time to make it work, leading to the cancellation of the whole thing.
Thanks to a report from VGC, we know that the three-day event will involve live-streamed coverage from 10am to 10pm EST, including two-hour-long keynote presentations from "games partners" - likely meaning large development studios - and smaller streams from publishers, indies, and influencers. "Regional replays" across Europe, China, and the Middle East will ensure that no one misses out on the news.
Game demos will be made available to the public in the weeks before the event, and media will be able to preview the games remotely. On the 14th June, the day before E3 is due to begin, a "Preview Night" will be happening, although there are currently no details as to what that means.
Geoff Keighley - former E3 collaborator and host of The Game Awards - is planning to continue his Summer Game Fest, which he launched last year, with a cryptic tweet today signalling more news incoming:
VGC states that it's not yet clear which publishers have signed up for this digital version of E3, but that "at least one major games company" is going ahead with their own showcase, rather than paying "six-figure sums" to appear at E3.
Do you think an all-digital show is the way forward? Would you prefer to see this in future years, even after we've kicked the pandemic's butt? Let us know in the comments.