Another E3 is in the books, though this one was definitely different from past examples of the event. Following all the craziness of last year that led to the event taking a hiatus, E3 2021 saw several marked changes to the Expo’s usual format; not least of which being a shift toward a digital-only approach. Now that the dust has settled, a question has arisen: When comparing E3 2019 vs E3 2021, which was better? Did the changes made help the show overall, or were there notable growing pains?
We’re aiming to answer that question. Using three different categories, we’ll compare the two shows side by side to see which performed better overall.
E3 2019 vs E3 2021
Big reveals are a necessity at any E3, and there’s a clear winner in this category.
For the 2019 show, there was an exceptional amount of big reveals all throughout the week. Titles like Borderlands 3, Control, and Judgement all wowed audiences with cinematic trailers and gameplay unveilings alike, setting them up for their releases later that year.
Likewise, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Doom Eternal, Cyberpunk 2077, and other games that would release in 2020 made an appearance, offering a glimpse at what would be on the horizon for the eighth generation’s twilight.
And those are just some of the biggest names: Spiritfarer, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2, Elden Ring, Halo Infinite, and so many others made their debut there as well across several press conferences. Some received detailed gameplay showcases, while others saw their first teasers let loose unto the world.
In comparison, E3 2021 was much lighter on big reveals.
To be sure, it still had big titles that stole the show. Metroid Dread resurfaced from the dead as one of Nintendo’s leading releases for 2021. Ubisoft unveiled an ambitious Avatar game in Frontiers of Pandora, and Microsoft and Bethesda’s conference was packed with showings by everything from Starfield and Halo: Infinite to Arkane Studios’ new IP Redfall.
Overall though, this year’s show was way lighter on big reveals. It’s understandable given all the headaches 2020 has caused for game developers, but that doesn’t change the fact that 2019 was absolutely stacked with reveals and teasers.
Winner: E3 2019 takes this one by a landslide
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