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E3 lives on, in digital form at least. The Entertainment Software Association confirmed today that the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) will take place in a virtual format this year from June 12 to June 15.

The confirmed partners for E3 include Nintendo, Xbox, Capcom, Konami, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Warner Bros. Games, and Koch Media. Thats not a comprehensive list, but there are some notable names that aren’t there, like Electronic Arts (which has opted to be outside the show in recent years) and Activision Blizzard (which has an on-again, off-again relationship with E3).

Let’s hope they pull it together, because I miss the center of the industry. For now, maybe we can refer to this as “e3” and the eventual in-person event as E3.

Last year, the pandemic resulted in E3’s outright cancelation, so game companies spread out their announcements over the whole summer. It was a diluted mess, and resulted in GamesBeat’s Jeff Grubb taking advantage of the situation declaring his own Summer Game Mess, not to be confused with Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest, which is also taking place (but is not affiliated with) again during E3.


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Stanley Pierre-Louis is CEO of the Entertainment Software Association.

Above: Stanley Pierre-Louis is CEO of the Entertainment Software Association.

Image Credit: ESA

“For more than two decades, E3 has been the premier venue to showcase the best that the video game industry has to offer, while uniting the world through games,” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, CEO of the ESA, in a statement. “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 make this event the indispensable center stage for video games.”

The event will is free, the ESA said, in contrast to rumors that it might charge for some of the content. The theme is “Game On.”

Asked to address a rumor about the paid elements, a spokesperson for E3 said, “We can confirm that E3 2021 will be 100% free for attendees and that there will be no elements at E3 2021 that will be behind a paywall.”

E3 acknowledged that networking will be harder, but it said the digital format means that more people than ever will be able to participate in E3 from around the world. And it looks forward to an in-person event in 2022.


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