The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) never materialised in any form in 2020. The organisers, the ESA, seemingly failed to convince enough publishers to make the gaming industry's biggest showcase work from home, with many companies opting to do their own broadcasts.
E3 2021 is set for June 15 to 17, 2021, and it appears as though the ESA is giving digital another try, with coronavirus cases still high across the US. Documents seen by Video Game Chronicle propose three days of broadcasts, such as the usual high-end two-hour showcases from larger games partners, as well as an award show, and collaborations with smaller publishers, influencers and media partners.
Alongside the broadcast, the ESA reportedly hopes to release demos for the public to play. Some of these include streaming the demo during a set time, with assistance and commentary from the developers, although VGN note this may just be for media outlets.
Geoff Keighley spoke to VGN, confirming he will not be collaborating with E3 this year, having distanced himself from the show. He will be bringing back Summer Game Fest from last year, and if dates remain the same, this should not clash with E3.
E3 enjoyed years of being one of the most important dates in games media, with the first taking place in 1995. 2020 was the first year it missed, adding another problem to its already numerous issues, with some companies pulling out to organize their own showcases, most notably Sony. Adding to the show's recent identity crisis, Keighley cited his reason for distancing himself from E3 as creative differences, with the ESA's apparent reluctance to go digital.
Food For Thought
To get completely subjective for a second: I hope this isn't the end of E3 as we've known it. You can't knock Keighley's business sense after last year, but despite all his hard work, there was an E3-shaped hole in 2020. There's something magical about having all the overpromises and misleading trailers packed into one convention center, and I'm not the only one who feels that way. Opening up to the public from 2017 onwards proved immensely popular (if poorly handled), and it would be a real shame if so many of us didn't get to go on our gaming pilgrimage to see Todd Howard in the flesh. But back in the real world, there really just aren't enough incentives for publishers - why pay the ESA when you can do it yourself?