E3 2021 will be virtual (and free) this summer

E3 is going virtual this year with a reimagined event.
Image: Entertainment Software Association

E3 is arguably the most important gaming convention in the world. Last year, its organizers were forced to cancel the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, with more than a year to plan and develop alternative solutions, E3 is going virtual.

There was essentially no chance for the convention to be held in person this summer due to its usual size. However, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) promises that the digital event will be worth attending.

The best part of the convention going virtual is that it will be free for everyone. That’s great news for those who wouldn’t be able to attend an in-person event anyway. Meanwhile, most of the world’s biggest game studios will be present to show off their latest titles.

Virtual Reimagining

During a normal June day in the streets of downtown Los Angeles, video game fans would be celebrating their favorite titles and waiting for announcements about new ones. This year, the festivities will occur from home. Despite that, E3’s organizers have a special event planned.

The ESA notes that the biggest names in gaming, including Nintendo, Xbox, Capcom, Konami, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, and Warner Bros. Games will all be in attendance. Sony is perhaps the biggest name not on the list. However, that isn’t due to the virtual nature of the event. Sony broke from E3 back in 2019 in favor of hosting its own showcase.

At this point, the ESA hasn’t yet announced what platform will be used to host the virtual conference. In a statement, it said, “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 even the indispensable center stage for video games.”

Temporary Change

This year’s virtual E3 will take place between June 12 and 15. At the time of this writing, registration hasn’t been opened. Instead, the ESA encourages those interested in attending to fill out an online form to receive more information when the time comes.

The official E3 website notes that registration for media members will begin in the second quarter of 2021. Since that has technically already started, it’s likely that fan registrations will open soon.

Although fans of E3 know the virtual experience won’t be the same as attending in person, it’s better than nothing. On the bright side, this year’s virtual event won’t be the new normal. The ESA said that it looks forward to hosting an in-person convention in 2022.

Of course, whether that can happen depends largely on how the pandemic evolves this year. If things go according to plan, E3 won’t be the only event returning to the in-person format next year.

For now, fans can find the silver lining and enjoy this year’s virtual festivities for free. That leaves you with extra money to actually some of the new games being showcased.

Stay tuned to The Burn-In for the latest on E3 as the virtual event unfolds this summer.


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