The ESA has finally lifted the lid on what its plans are for E3 2021. After speculation, rumors, and conflicting reports, the lobbying body has revealed its plans for an all-digital show in June, thus also confirming there will be no on-site show in Los Angeles this summer.
"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,” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, president and CEO of the ESA." The event will be free for virtual attendees, though the ESA has not yet clarified if there will be optional buy-in opportunities for attendees, such as VIP access or the like. It was reported last week that this may be in the plans, and the ESA seemed to dance around the subject in its attempted refutation, so it remains to be seen whether those ideas come to fruition.
Joining the show will be a number of marquee publishers, including Nintendo, Xbox, Capcom, Konami, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Warner Bros. Games, and Koch Media. Notably absent once again is Sony, which now makes it three consecutive years the brand has sat out of E3, though last year's show was canceled due to the pandemic anyway. It seems the publisher is officially done with being a part of E3. Also missing from the list is Bethesda, though that may be because the company falls under the Xbox umbrella now. Previously this year, it was suggested that Xbox will carve out a show for Bethesda all to its self, though that's yet to be confirmed.
As Sony distances itself from the show, Xbox continues to use it as a platform to speak to its audience on the biggest stage. "Glad to see the game industry coming together again in June for a digital E3, said Phil Spencer on Twitter. "This and other summer events are proof that our industry is strongest when we work together. Looking forward to sharing what we have in store this summer."
The ESA did add that it's currently planning for an in-person show for 2022.