July 31, 2021

a 2021 edition like no other for E3

You won’t have to travel to the Los Angeles Convention Center to attend the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this year – an Internet connection will suffice. Considered to be the most influential show in the video game sector, the event which will take place from June 12 to 15 has gone to 100% digital format, one year after the cancellation of its 2020 edition due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read also Video game: E3 2020 canceled due to coronavirus

E3 was launched in 1995 by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), an association that brings together the leaders of American video game publishers. The objective was to create in the United States a meeting entirely devoted to this industry: until then, the innovations were shown at the Consumer Electronic Show of Las Vegas (CES), lost in the middle of electronic gadgets.

This annual show has gradually established itself as an international event. It sets the tone for the industry for the next twelve months, and top news is usually unveiled there, especially at conferences and events. keynotes organized on the sidelines of the show.

“Four days of live streaming”

During the previous edition, which had gathered, in June 2019, more than 66,000 participants (mainly industry professionals), Nintendo had for example announced the continuation of its great success Zelda : Breath of the Wild (still eagerly awaited).

But some notable announcements of E3 can also turn to the cold shower: darling of the show since 2013, Cyberpunk 2077, by CD Projekt Red, disappointed many observers when it was released in December 2020, which has since plunged the Polish studio into turmoil.

The new formula of the show mainly focuses on streaming. Its organizers promise “Press conferences and four days of live streaming”. The official E3 site directs Internet users to its YouTube channel, Twitch channel and Facebook page on which the official video stream of the show will be broadcast from June 12. On June 3, during the official announcement of the program, the organizers highlighted the press conferences of the partner studios.

Another novelty, online accreditation free for “fans”. The organizers promise that it will allow access to a portal dedicated to E3 and to discussion spaces: a priori an attempt to retrieve the discussions that are usually found on the players’ favorite social networks (Discord, Reddit or Twitter).

Nintendo and Xbox headlining

In all, around thirty participating companies were announced. E3 has put two video game giants in the spotlight. On the one hand, the Japanese Nintendo, which has specified that it will mainly announce games scheduled for the second half of 2021.

On the other hand Microsoft, including the new Xbox Series X and S consoles have been available since November – although the games are still overdue. In addition to its house titles (we think of the blockbuster Halo Infinite, expected before the end of the year), players hope that Microsoft will unveil, in partnership with publisher Bethesda (acquired in March by the American giant), some highly anticipated titles, such as Starfield, the successor to the cult game Skyrim.

Read also Video games: “Halo Infinite” postponed to 2021

No event organized by PlayStation, the third “console” in the sector, is however planned. Sony has abandoned this show since 2019 and is thus distinguished by its absence. However, E3 is counting on the participation of other heavyweights in the industry. Ubisoft studios (Assassin’s Creed), Square Enix (Final Fantasy), Gearbox Softwares (Borderlands), Capcom (Resident Evil), Warner Bros (Mortal Kombat), Bandai Namco (Elden Ring), Sega (Sonic) or the publisher Take-Two Interactive will intervene during conferences or presentations.

Finally, the range of participants is not limited to these key companies in the sector. A number of little-known publishers and developers (24 Entertainment, Yooreka, Ghost Street Games) have paid for virtual booths (which we still wonder what they will look like) on the show. Just like manufacturers of accessories (Razer, Nacon or Turtle Beach) and eight media (including IGN, PC Gamer, Polygon, Webedia…), which will relay the event as partners or organize their own conference.

A series of side events

Studios not attending E3 often take advantage of the media attention paid to E3 to make their own announcements. This is for example the case of the publisher Devolver, which should engage, as every year since 2017, in a parody conference on June 12, or Electronic Arts, which must announce the next game. Battlefield three days before the show, June 9.

On June 10, the launch show of the second edition of the Summer Game Fest will also be held, organized in 2020 after the cancellation of E3. About thirty announcements of games as well as the promise of guests, like the rock group Weezer or the actor Jeff Goldblum, were made by its host, the Canadian journalist Geoff Keighley.

On June 12, there will also be a new day of the independent video game festival Guerrilla Collective, which has teamed up with the Wholesome Games event, during which “cute” or non-competitive video games, developed by de small studios.

Read also Benevolent and comforting, “wholesome” video games triumph

A “business” lounge

The general public may well associate E3 with the conferences full of surprises that are held before the event, the show itself is actually less glamorous than it seems. Unlike events such as Paris Games Week in France or Gamescom in Germany, where everything has been designed so that players can try out the latest innovations, E3 is above all a “business” fair intended for professionals. .

From 1995 to 2019, it was thus a means of organizing meetings between developers, publishers or journalists from all over the world. Interviews and previews of exclusive games were held there, on condition of making an appointment well in advance with the studios.

However, this year, several studios explained to the World that potential meetings or games takeover would only be organized at the last moment. Other attendees even let it be known that there would be nothing more to expect than mere trailers.

The E3 site however promised that a portal reserved for accredited professionals would be set up from June 7, 2021. But for the moment, despite our accreditations, the portal was not yet accessible.