E3 2021 could be a three-day digital event, but it needs publisher support

The ESA is currently pitching the major players

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E3 was in a weird spot before the pandemic. After a year off, it’s taking a different direction in 2021.

As reported by Video Games Chronicle, plans are forming around a digital-only E3 2021 that would take place over three days in mid-June, similar to the Before Times – but it still needs to gain traction.

The ESA’s proposed event is trying to line up support from major publishers, but the idea for a remote E3 would potentially include “multiple two-hour keynote sessions from games partners, an awards show, a June 14 preview night, and other smaller streams from games publishers, influencers, and media partners,” as VGC summarizes. Throughout 2020, publishers offered playable previews of upcoming games through streaming apps like Parsec; that would also be the case for this new E3.

“We can confirm that we are transforming the E3 experience for 2021 and will soon share exact details on how we’re bringing the global video game community together,” the ESA said in a statement.

The cancellation of E3 2020 and lack of a digital-only replacement opened the path for Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest alternative – to say nothing of smaller and mid-tier publishers rallying with their own one-off streams and showcases. We can expect Summer Game Fest to return in 2021.

Thankfully, the next iteration will be shorter – “less than one month,” according to Keighley.

As much as I long for a more condensed E3-sized news cycle instead of months of streams popping up here and there, I can’t see that happening – there’s no going back to the old way, or anything close to resembling it, especially not while events are at-home-only. The old dream of Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo hosting their own press conferences during one unified week in June is dead, and it has been for a while. I know you know that, but it’s hard not to want to reflect. So many memorable moments.

If the ESA can assemble enough publisher backing to pull off E3 2021, more power to ’em.

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Jordan Devore
Jordan is a founding member of Destructoid and poster of seemingly random pictures. They are anything but random.
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