COVID-19: Which 2021 gaming events are tentatively still on

The coronavirus pandemic has not slowed down at the start of 2021, so we're taking a look at which live events are still set to go down for this year.


There was hope that the COVID-19 pandemic would slow down at the start of 2021. Even with the release of two different vaccines, the pandemic not only isn't slowing down, but it's getting worse. Still, those vaccines are out there, so what does that mean for gaming events in 2021?

Shacknews is taking a look at some of the big gaming events that are tentatively set to go down in 2021. For the most part, everything as we know it is canceled. However, there are a couple of exceptions and there are a few events that are up in the air. Let's look at a few of them.

D.I.C.E. Summit 2021

The annual D.I.C.E. Summit brings together many of the most recognizable names in video games. The reason it's on this list is because it's normally held in February and the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences has been noticeably quiet about the status of this year's event. The website has not been updated to feature anything past the 2020 D.I.C.E. Summit and the AIAS Twitter account has made no indication that an event will happen, even in a delayed capacity.

We're curious about D.I.C.E. and will update this space when we hear anything.

E3 2021

Nothing was a bigger indicator that the gaming industry was in uncharted waters than the cancellation of E3 back in June. The pandemic is still raging on right now, but a lot can change with vaccine distribution rolling out. So what does this mean for the June E3 event?

As of now, there is no indication of what the Entertainment Software Association will do with this year's E3 event. There's a lot that's complicating a potential convention in Los Angeles, CA, including whether anyone will feel safe to travel. That's especially true as Los Angeles is in the midst of its biggest COVID surge since the pandemic started. The whole thing could go digital. It could all be canceled. We don't know.

We'll keep an eye on the ESA and look out for any statements.


PAX East normally happens in the spring in late March or early April. With the pandemic in its current state, it's unlikely that people will be able to safely travel or gather before that time.

However, PAX is already prepared for this. PAX East won't be happening in its usual spring period, but instead has been pushed back to June. As noted back in December, PAX East will now be held in Boston, MA from June 3-6. PAX West is tentatively set to take place during Labor Day weekend, as it usually does. PAX South has been canceled, while PAX Australia is currently up in the air. PAX Unplugged is set to come to Philadelphia, PA from December 10-12.

PAX East's placement is particularly noteworthy because it's very close to the time that E3 would normally take place. That puts extra pressure on the ESA to come forward with its plans for E3, because publishers and developers are going to want to plan accordingly. Having PAX East on one side of the country and E3 on the other within a week of each other would create a logistical nightmare.

For now, PAX East is on. If that changes, we'll update this space.

The International 10

The Dota 2 International is the biggest event in all of esports and its status has been in question throughout the pandemic, especially as Valve has continued to raise the prize pool through the TI10 Battle Pass.

As of two weeks ago, according to the Dota 2 website, the Dota 2 Pro Circuit is set to begin again on January 18.

That leaves an estimated August date for The International 10, which will take place in Stockholm, Sweden. The proceeds from the TI10 Battle Pass will presumably carry over, meaning the prize pool will likely skyrocket above $40 million USD.

We'll keep an eye on the latest with The International and update this space when we hear more.

That's the list for now. We'll be updating this feature throughout the year, especially as the COVID vaccine rolls out and more events start to come up on the calendar.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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