It perhaps wasn't surprising that E3 2021 was announced as an online-only affair; the logistics involved in staging an expo, not to mention all of the preparation and traveling for global exhibitors, made an in-person event impossible in the current circumstances. For the vast majority of those that have followed the event over the years, however, that doesn't necessarily change much. Instead of watching live streams being hosted from the show floor and LA theatres, we'll be watching pre-prepared or live broadcasts from company HQs and various other sites.
For many years in times gone by, E3 was the event for major reveals of hardware and games. Nintendo chose the show to pull the DS and later the 3DS out of suit jacket pockets, in addition to revealing systems including Wii and Wii U. Some of the biggest games would be kept under wraps until the show, leading to iconic moments of a theatre of fans going crazy as a teaser trailer started up.
Of course, times have changed, with a lot of the big fish in the gaming industry now using their own social channels and marketing muscle to reveal consoles and games in their own way. Prior to its cancellation, it's also fair to say that E3 2020 was in trouble; moves by the organisers to change the focus of the event contributed to various mainstays walking away. Other events have also started to improve their impact, with gamescom in Germany recruiting Geoff Keighley to spearhead its own headline event full of world premieres.
So, is E3 2021 set to be a comeback for the original expo that ruled them all? It may not reach true dominance again, but its organisers clearly learned from the criticism a year ago and has wooed back various publishers. As you can see in our event guide below, the list of major publishers taking part in some form has grown significantly, albeit with Sony being an unsurprising hold-out.
Without the 'live' shows, of course, we won't get many of the familiar and treasured mistakes - jokes that don't land, technology malfunctioning etc. However, from a Nintendo perspective the hope will be that a 'Direct' or whatever branding they choose will be full of big-hitting news.
The internet will likely be full of fake leaks, rumours and teases over the coming month ahead of the show kicking off on 12th June; the question is, are you excited and hyped for 4 days of a virtual E3?
Let us know in the polls below!