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E3 2022 may be a hybrid digital-physical event

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E3 kicks off this week, and due to a worldwide pandemic still currently raging about, the Electronic Software Association of America has decided that shoving a few thousand nerds into the confined space of a Los Angeles convention center probably isn’t a wise idea. This year’s E3 is thus an all-digital event, and future incarnations of the show might be going for a hybrid approach in the future.

“This will give us an opportunity to present to members of the industry, media, and fans an opportunity to participate fully, and I think that provides a real unique opportunity to learn this year what we can apply to future events that will probably be a mix of physical and digital,” Stanley Pierre-Louis, CEO and President of the ESA, explained to Games Industry. “But that’s to be determined. We’ve got to figure out where we all are moving forward.”

Pierre-Louis added that the ESA will resume the in-person design of E3 next year, incorporating the digital elements from this year’s event into the mix. “The shape of that is yet to be determined, and we hope to learn from this year’s event what transfers well. I can’t speak to future E3s, because we really want to focus on E3 2021 and ensure this is a great experience for exhibitors, the media, and fans alike,” he said.

So far, the first all-digital E3 hasn’t been without a few stumbles. Its much-vaunted press portal for example, is about useful as screen doors on a submarine. Despite those teething issues, Pierre-Louis believes that gaming has entered a new golden age thanks partly to the pandemic.

“We’re in this golden age of video gaming because more people have been exposed to games over this past year than before,” he said. “The video game audience was large, and because of the pandemic, many people were reintroduced or introduced for the first time to games, and that created lots of opportunities for these platforms to really emerge.”

E3 2021 kicks off on June 12 and runs until June 15. There’s going to be a lot of content to sit through this weekend, if you’ve got a generator on standby before load shedding attempts to mess those plans up.

Last Updated: June 10, 2021

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