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E3 2021 is being planned as a digital event

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2020 was the year of the canceled convention, as just about every big event realised that having people throwing elbows at one another in a cramped convention space while a deadly virus ravaged the world probably wasn’t a good idea. E3 was no exception, as the Electronic Software Association pulled the plug on its 2020 edition alongside other notable names such as CES and numerous Comic-Cons.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still being a blight on society and people being dumber than ever when it comes to following simple tasks such as staying off a beach or covering your whole face with a mask, many a convention has opted for an online edition in 2021 so that its brand can stay alive and relevant.

According to pitch documents obtained by Video Games Chronicle, E3 looks set to follow that route with its own three-day stream that will broadcast content from June 15 to 17. Lengthy keynotes from game partners, multiple streams from smaller developers and publishers, and an awards show to cap the entire event off have all been suggested in the proposal, provided that the ESA can rope in major partners such as Sony, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Nintendo.

Or to put it more bluntly, any of the major names in video games that gave E3 the finger and set up shop with dedicated shows that did just fine without the E3 hype machine behind it. “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 response to the VGC report.

We are having great conversations with publishers, developers and companies across the board, and we look forward to sharing details about their involvement soon.

It’d be a tough sell though, as not only does the ESA need to convince brands to join its initiative but it also needs to make a compelling argument as to why its event is worth investing upwards of a six-figure sum into for a three-day show of interviews, trailers, and having your personal data stolen. I’m still seething over that.

E3 2018 was the last big version of the show, reminiscent of when the event was seen as a week-long Wrestlemania for video games that had giants of the industry popping up to show off their wares. Combined with Geoff Keighley’s E3 Colosseum and the public being allowed inside a show that had previously been open only to trade and industry in the past, E3’s 2018 hurrah was a prime example of the show at its best.

E3 2019 was stripped of most of that magic, boasting only a handful of noteworthy names as fans descended into the hellmouth that is downtown Los Angeles.

Last Updated: February 9, 2021

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