E3 returns this year as the Electronic Entertainment Experience. The Entertainment Software Association announced today that it is hosting the annual E3 event as a digital showcase from June 12-15. And she even managed to attract a few major partners for the festivities.
Nintendo, Xbox, Capcom, Konami, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Warner Bros., and Koch Media will all be showing some sort of content as part of E3. But what will these media presentations look like? And does that mean E3 is back for good? Well, let’s talk about what you can expect from the event.
Of course, E3 2021 doesn’t have an in-person component. ESA plans to bring this back in 2022. For now, the company is looking to stay entirely virtual. And reports from Video Game Chronicle and others suggest the organization has struggled to determine what that should look like.
The fundamental challenge for ESA has always been a question of value. What value does the group bring and can it charge companies for this value? The trade alliance does not provide answers to these questions. But it’s probably safe to assume that ESA has minimal oversight over how participating companies will present their content.
E3 2021 has a website and an app – and that’s about it. Nintendo, Microsoft and the rest will likely handle all the logistics and production beyond that, including streaming on external platforms that bypass E3 entirely.
And many companies were planning to hold their summer media presentations in the second week of June with or without the E3 brand, according to a source familiar with the plans.
Does E3 clean up the summer gaming mess?
One of the reasons so many gaming fans yearn for the return of E3 is because of 2020. The pandemic led ESA to cancel the event last year, and nothing really took hold. square. Instead, we had several surrogates that all lacked the overall excitement E3 is known for. And worst of all, these events unfolded slowly over the summer and early fall.
So does a centralized and condensed E3 mean the end of the summer mess? At least partially.
A strong E3 with Nintendo, Xbox, and Konami means we should at least hear about a number of big games from well-known publishers. Nintendo didn’t have a summer live at all last year. And Microsoft has spread its Xbox announcements across multiple events, and maybe those were delayed for several weeks at a time.
This year, assuming we don’t encounter another global meltdown by June, Nintendo will return with another general, full-scale direct showcase. Microsoft, meanwhile, will bring Xbox and Bethesda together in a back-to-back showcase with games like Halo and potentially a new space role-playing adventure from Forza and Bethesda, Starfield.
With big showcases like these, players should know a lot more about what the rest of the year will look like than in the summer of 2020.
But that doesn’t mean the mess will go away.
Digital events are easier to plan and broadcast live, so expect a lot of businesses to keep trying to make do. But more big publishers can start to organize their own events. Electronic Arts and PlayStation will each have something, but will also be expecting a Square Enix Presents, a Bandai Namco Next, and more. But don’t hold your breath as everything will be happening around E3 week.
In other words, the mess will live on as well.
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