What E3 2021 will look like will remain a mystery, but the first official details are starting to come to light. ESA announced on Thursday that E3 2021 will continue at least partially as a digital show. Also, in response to a leak suggesting that it may charge fees for participation or certain content, E3 2021’s digital show will be free for all attendees and will not include any paywalls.
The wording of ESA’s announcement does not make it clear whether E3 2021 will be an all-digital show or have a physical presence. We won’t have to wait any longer to find out more about what’s happening in the store, as ESA says the first details will be released very soon.
An ESA spokesperson told GameSpot that we’ve worked hard to provide a free experience to anyone interested in E3 2021, and we’re excited to share more details soon. Later, a spokesperson rejected what was outlined in leaked documents obtained by the VGC, adding that there would be no elements behind the toll gate or paywall in E3 2021.
This information comes after the presentation documents of a new, all-digital E3 showcase that leaked earlier this year, and points to significant changes in the event as it moves from a physical show to a digital show after the pandemic. We still do not know more about the nature and structure of E3 2021 as it concerns an online and physical setup.
Also, there is no official word yet on when E3 2021 will occur or what fans can expect in terms of programming and content. E3 traditionally takes place from early to mid-June.
While E3 2021 will continue, it won’t be the only show in town this summer. Microsoft and its new subsidiary Bethesda are planning their showcases outside of E3. Other broadcasters are expected to do the same with their independent events at different points throughout the year.
E3 was once the biggest show in video games in terms of profile and fame, but Gamescom is much bigger when it comes to total attendance in the pre-pandemic years. The E3 has not been on the market for years as major broadcasters like PlayStation, EA and others have jumped off the ship to host their own events outside of E3 and away from the Los Angeles Convention Center.
ESA itself, which organizes E3 every year, has also faced increasing scrutiny and criticism in recent times. Former CEO Michael Gallagher has been criticized for his ties to President Trump, while Variety reported that half of the group leadership either resigned or was fired in 2019.