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Report: E3 2021 Being Planned As An All-Digital Event

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Photo: Christian Petersen (Getty Images)

Last year the Entertainment Software Association cancelled E3, the biggest trade show in gaming, due to covid-19 concerns. According to pitch documents obtained by Video Games Chronicle, this year’s E3 might be as a strictly online affair, with three-days of streaming content running from June 15 to 17.

When E3 2020 was cancelled, game publishers, websites, and Geoff Keighley rushed to fill the void with a seemingly endless array of digital events. The pitch documents being distributed to publishers and developers suggest a show featuring lengthy keynotes from game partners, an awards show, and multiple streams from smaller developers and publishers. The show would be further supported by media previews a week prior to the event, with playable demos available across multiple platforms. Basically, it sounds like the online streaming stuff we saw a lot of last summer, only somewhat more organized under the banner of E3.


Note that these are just ESA proposals at this point. The show would depend on the support of major game partners like Sony, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Nintendo, all of which seemed to do just fine hosting their own digital events in 2020.

Responding to the Video Games Chronicle’s report, the ESA issued the following statement regarding E3 2021:

“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.”