E3 Reportedly Returning Digitally in 2021, Will Face Competition from Summer Game Fest

Nathan Birch
Geoff Keighley

2020 marked the first time in 25 years gamers didn’t have an E3 to obsess over. The physical event was of course canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Entertainment Software Association promised some sort of “online experience” in its place. That never ended up happening, with publishers instead putting on their own standalone online shows or huddling under various collective umbrellas, including the Geoff-Keighley-organized Summer Game Fest or IGN’s Summer of Gaming event. Well, apparently the organizers of E3 are aiming for a big comeback in 2021.

The folks at Video Game Chronicle claim to have intercepted pitch documents the ESA has sent to various publishers for E3 2021. These documents reportedly propose a four-day digital event, with a preview day, awards show, and keynote sessions with various publishers. The ESA envisions each day would include 12 hours of livestreamed content, from 10am to 10pm ET, starting with a 30-minute pre-show, followed by a 2-hour keynote from one of the big console makers and a variety of other publisher showcases. E3’s origins as a trade show will also be honored, with publishers remotely streaming demos for media and industry members. Of course, whether or not any of this comes to pass remains a big question mark.

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Can the ESA entice publishers back into the E3 tent, given the event was already on the downtrend before last year’s cancellation? New competitors that popped up last year also aren’t going anywhere, as VGC has confirmed Summer Game Fest will be returning this year. Despite these challenges, the ESA says they will share details about this year’s E3 experience soon…

We can confirm that we are transforming the E3 experience for 2021 and will soon share exact details on how we’re bringing the global video game community together. We are having great conversations with publishers, developers and companies across the board, and we look forward to sharing details about their involvement soon.

This year’s digital E3 will reportedly run from June 15 to June 17, with a preview day on June 14. What do you think? Can E3 stage a successful digital comeback? Or is the show beyond saving?

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