E3 2021 Is Happening, Will Be Virtual and Free

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E3 2021 Is Happening, Will Be Virtual and Free

E3 2021 is officially a go, taking place online and between June 12 and 15.

After being canceled last year due to the pandemic, and despite widespread discussion about E3’s waning popularity and relevance, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) have secured exhibitors which will draw interest. Among these early exhibitors are “Nintendo, Xbox, Capcom, Konami, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Warner Bros. Games and Koch Media, and more to come,” according to a press release sent out this morning.

Over the last several years, some exhibitors have recused themselves from E3 in favor of hosting their own events. Importantly missing from that list are PlayStation and Electronic Arts, who have in the past held their own showcases or conventions either adjacent to or completely apart from E3. While we’re not entirely sure they won’t be there, neither of these big companies being one of the early committers is perhaps an indication that this reimagined E3 won’t be enough to bring them back into the fold.

Contrary to rumors that have been swirling around in the past week or so, E3 2021 will be completely free to all attendees, consisting of “a multi-day video stream with online and mobile access.” There will be the usual press conferences, reveals and “major exhibitor showcases” as well as “high-profile hosts” and charity initiatives, to list just a few of the things coming to E3 2021, confirming some of what we’d heard in the past.

Stanley Pierre-Louis, the President and CEO of the ESA, says in the press release that, “We are evolving this year’s E3 into a more inclusive event, but will still look to excite the fans with major reveals and insider opportunities that makes this event the indispensable center stage for videogames.”

It seems that after years of changing the show to fit growing trends and retain their relevance, E3 is trying to pivot back into what it used to be, albeit online. Time will tell if the plan is ultimately fruitful, but for now I guess mark your calendars because E3 2021 is happening.