E3 Set to Return This Year As a Free All-Digital Event

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The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has confirmed that the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2021 will go ahead in a “reimagined all-virtual” format after last year’s event was cancelled due to COVID-19.

The event will take place between 12 to 15 June allowing developers to showcase their latest projects. In addition to being all-online, this year’s event will also be ‘free for all’. The ESA said it “will be working with media partners globally to help amplify and make this content available to everyone for free.”

“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 ESA president and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis.

The heavy emphasis on the event being free is likely in response to a report claiming that the ESA had previously pitched plans to put some content behind a paywall. The idea didn’t sit too well with many, so the ESA swiftly took a U-turn, reassuring fans that “no elements” of E3 behind a paid-for pass or paywall.

The list of companies confirmed to take part in the event includes Nintendo, Ubisoft, Xbox, Capcom, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Warner Bros. Games and Koch Media. While this is already a great line-up, the ESA promise there are “more to come”. One thing many have pointed out, however, is the absence of Sony, suggesting that the company could be skipping the event for the third year in a row. Other big companies notably missing from the program so far are EA and Activision.

After the event was cancelled last year due to the pandemic the ESA has certainly taken a more cautious approach, but say it “looks forward” to welcoming fans to an in-person event in 2022.

Words by Denitsa Gencheva


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