E3 2021 could move forward as digital event in June, pending publisher support

The ESA is reportedly aiming for a mid-june return of E3 in digital form, if it can gather publisher support leading up to the event.

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As the COVID-19 pandemic hit in full in 2020, even events as massive as E3 were unable to avoid changing and canceling plans to avoid issues with the infectious disease. However, where events like gamescom and PAX were able to pivot to an online/digital format, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) was unable to gather the resources for similar transition with E3, instead opting to cancel outright in 2020. Now, in 2021, the ESA is angling for a return with an official digital E3 2021 event, granted it can get the publisher support to do so.

The ESA signaled the return and planning for a digital E3 2021 recently, as reported by Video Games Chronicle. In April of 2020, the ESA was trying to get the digital E3 together, but found it could not gather the resources for the event on such short notice, and so E3 2020’s supposed “online experience” was fully canceled. In 2021, the ESA is pursuing the online event yet again with dates set for June 15 to June 17, 2021, with a pre-show taking place on June 14.

After the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic were fully realized, E3 2020 fell on the chopping block with physical events barred and timing to tight to arrange a digital experience.
After the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic were fully realized, E3 2020 fell on the chopping block with physical events barred and timing to tight to arrange a digital experience.

According to VGC, the ESA’s plans include using June 14 for pre-show keynotes, as well as streams of smaller developers and upcoming games. Throughout the show, E3 also promised to make demos of partner companies’ remotely playable to media through “thousands” of scheduled opportunities. The ESA has sent out pitches to various publishers and is currently working to garner support for the upcoming event.

It will be interesting to see what materializes out of the possibility of the digital E3, 2021. In 2020, various companies pivoted to their own online direct experience, including Ubisoft and Nintendo. With digital events through major publishers now becoming more and more the norm in 2021, it will be interesting to see how many of the big players move back to E3 for a 2021 event.

Whether E3 2021 happens or not, Shacknews certainly has its own take on the Summer gaming experience, having had quite the E4 in 2020. Stay tuned as we continue to watch and see what comes out of the E3 2021 digital experience this coming Summer.

News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. When he's not handing out beatdowns in the latest fighting games, exploring video game history, or playing through RPGs with his partner, he's searching for new food and drinks in the constant pursuit of good times with good people inside and outside the South Texas area. You can also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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