E3 2021 being planned as digital-only event with awards show, public demos

E3 2021 will be held within the most popular venue of the pandemic era — the internet.

Image via Electronic Software Association

The most popular gaming convention in the United States will reportedly be back after a one-year hiatus, but with a radically different format. According to documents obtained by VGC, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3) is being structured as a digital-only event, full of virtual keynotes, amongst other changes, to work around the ongoing pandemic.

The Entertainment Software Association has reached out to various publishers and developers with blueprints of an E3 2021 that would take place between June 15 and 17, according to VGC. If this proposal materializes, companies that agree to join the show will hold two-hour keynotes, provide public and private demos of announced games, and participate in an awards show near the end of the convention.

“We can confirm that we are transforming the E3 experience for 2021 and will soon share exact details on how we’re bringing the global video game community together,” an ESA spokesperson told VGC. However, the spokesperson did not say which publishers and developers have accepted the invitation for this year’s iteration.

VGC has confirmed that Game Awards creator Geoff Keighley will not collaborate with the ESA on the digital show. Last year, Keighley revealed the partnership was abruptly over due his disinterest in the show’s new direction. As a result, the former host went on to debut Summer Game Fest in 2020, a digital event in a similar vein to what the ESA has now proposed.

To make up for its lack of physical presence, the documents state that each day of E3 2021 will last about 12 hours, each currently projected to run from 10 AM to 10 PM ET. The organizer has also noted that media members will have exclusive access to some hands-on demos, but will provide more in-depth details when the show is officially announced.