E3 Returns in 2021 as Yet Another Digital Video Game Announcement Stream

Can the show differentiate itself from the neverending sea of digital showcases?

After cancelling things last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, E3 is making its return in 2021 as a digital event, though it’s hard to be excited about it considering it’s happening in the same month as the Not E3 Summer Game Fest Geoff Keighley is hosting. And also the fact that the ESA leaked the personal data of several media and content creators present last time it was a thing.

The digital approximation of the once Los Angeles-based event will take place from June 12 to 15, with several big companies signed on to present games and other announcements under its banner. Nintendo, Xbox, Capcom, Konami, Ubisoft, Take-Two, Warner Bros and Koch Media are all among companies taking part in E3 2021, though Electronic Arts and Sony are nowhere to be seen. EA will likely be holding EA Play, which splintered off from E3 so the company could show off its games on its own terms. Sony famously dropped out of E3 in 2019, but has yet to really establish a timely alternative in the years since. Since the company isn’t playing by ESA’s rules, it’s not really obligated to hold a State of Play presentation in June. So maybe we’ll hear something from Sony at a later date.

E3 2021 will be viewable by the public for free, rather than trying to emulate its paid ticket sales of the past few years before COVID-19 shook things up.

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While it certainly has the right companies backing the event, it will be interesting to see what, if anything, E3 can do to differentiate itself from the wave of other digital events that have been sprouting up in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. With so many events cancelled, developers and publishers have been having dedicated livestreams over the past year to have any chance of getting their games in the public eye. E3 was once the go to trade show for North America, but had seen dwindling attendance in recent years.