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E3 is back and can help clean up the mess of the summer



E3 returns this year as the Electronic Entertainment Experience. The Entertainment Software Association announced today that they are holding the annual E3 event as a digital showcase from June 12 to June 15.

Nintendo, Xbox, Capcom, Konami, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Warner Bros. and Koch Media will all show some kind of content as part of E3. But what will these media presentations look like? And does this mean that E3 is back for good? Let’s talk about what to expect from the event.

Of course, the E3 2021 has no personal component. ESA plans to bring it back in 2022. For now, the company wants to remain virtual. And reports from the Video Game Chronicle and others suggest that the organization had difficulty figuring out what it should look like.

The fundamental challenge for ESA was always about value. What value does the group provide, and can it charge companies to provide that value? The Trade Alliance does not provide answers to these questions. However, it is probably safe to assume that ESA has minimal oversight of how participating companies will present the content.

E3 2021

has a website and an app – and that’s about it. Nintendo, Microsoft and the rest will probably handle all logistics and production beyond that, including broadcasting to external platforms that completely bypass E3.

And many companies plan to hold summer media presentations during the second week of June with or without the E3 brand, according to a source familiar with the plans.

Cleansing up E3 this summer’s mess?

One of the reasons why so many gaming fans long for the return of E3, is due to 2020. The pandemic led to ESA canceling the event last year, and nothing really took place. Instead, we had several replacements that all lacked the extensive excitement that E3 is known for. And worst of all, these events slowly trickled out over the summer and into the early fall.

So does a centralized, condensed E3 mean the end of summer’s mess? At least in part.

A strong E3 with Nintendo, Xbox and Konami means that we should at least hear about a number of major games from well-known publishers. Nintendo did not have Summer Direct at all last year. And Microsoft spread its Xbox announcements over several events, and perhaps some of these were delayed for several weeks at a time.

This year, provided we do not encounter another global crisis by June, Nintendo returns with a new full-scale general Direct showcase. In the meantime, Microsoft will pack Xbox and Bethesda into a back-to-back showcase featuring games like Halo and potentially a new Forza and Bethesda’s spaceflight adventure Starfield.

With large showcases like them, players should know much more about what the rest of the year will look like than they did in the summer of 2020.

But that does not mean that the mess disappears.

Digital events are easier to plan and livestream, so expect many companies to keep trying to stay. But several large publishers can start holding their own events. Electronic Arts and PlayStation each want something, but also expect Square Enix Presents, Bandai Namco Next and more. But do not hold your breath that everything will happen around the E3 week.

In other words, the mess will also live on.

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