The ESA has today announced that the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) will return once again this year after a year hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will, however, do so as a digital-only event. Confirmed participants include industry giants Nintendo, Microsoft, Capcom, Konami, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Warner Bros. Games and Koch Media, “and more.”
E3 2021 will take place from June 12 through to June 15, with the showcase an entirely free-to-view experience via various streaming channels.
“For more than two decades, E3 has been the premier venue to showcase the best that the video game industry has to offer, while uniting the world through games,” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, President & CEO of the ESA. “We are evolving this year’s E3 into a more inclusive event, but will still look to excite the fans with major reveals and insider opportunities that make this event the indispensable center stage for video games.”
The cancelation of E3 2021 as a physical event is not entirely unexpected; reports surfaced earlier this year that the ESA had a digital event in the works as a replacement.
The ESA explains in today’s press release that it will be working with media partners globally to help amplify and make the digital event available to everyone for free.
The past two years have been difficult for the ESA and E3 as a showcase; once the premier annual event to showcase video game products on a global stage, major and longstanding participants increasingly opted to run their own events rather than take part. While it’s promising to see the return of some of those major names, the likes of Sony and EA still remain committed to their new, separate strategy.
It will be interesting to see whether the ESA is able to pivot successfully to a digital format (assuming that is its future strategy beyond COVID-19) and remain relevant — a subject that has long been a talking point amongst industry analysts.