In February, we reported that the traditional live and in-person version of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (a.k.a. “E3,” the annual event where nerdy celebrities and overworked video game journalists can come together to learn about the latest advancements in Assassin’s Creed technology) had been canceled for the second year in a row due to the COVID-10 pandemic. The show didn’t happen at all last year, which seemed like a nail in the coffin for the increasingly irrelevant-seeming E3 (since Sony and Microsoft both managed to release new game consoles in 2020 without getting the PR bump that E3 theoretically provides), but there had been rumblings this year that the Entertainment Software Association—which organizes E3 every year—would decide to replace the live event with an online version. That’s what San Diego Comic-Con had tried to do in 2020, and though that didn’t work out especially well, making video game announcements online is pretty much what every video game company does now anyway.
Today, the ESA confirmed that E3 2021 will indeed be going fully online, and it already has “early commitments” from a number of big video game publishers—with one notable exception that you might be able to guess if you keep up with this kind of thing. According to a press release, E3 2021 will be happening from June 12 through June 15, and the virtual event will be free to anyone who wants to attend.
As for those early commitments, the press release says the ESA has confirmed partnerships of some sort with Nintendo, Microsoft, Capcom, Konami, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive (not necessarily a household name, but notably the parent company of Grand Theft Auto publisher Rockstar), Warner Bros. Games, and Koch Media. Some of those are surprising, like Warner Bros. Games, which as recently as last summer was supposedly going to get sold off by parent company AT&T. Also, we were under the impression that Konami stopped making video games a long time ago and now exclusively produces custom steamrollers that destroy video games, but maybe something has changed.
The one big missing name is Sony, of course, which started skipping E3 a few years ago in favor of doing its own little events that don’t involve fighting Nintendo and Microsoft for attention. Doing this online thing apparently wasn’t enough to convince it to change its mind, but clearly the plan is working out since we’ve now spent more ink here talking about Sony than we did Nintendo or Microsoft.