E3 2021 Plans Reportedly Moving Forward

E3 2021 is in the works, but some publishers are balking at 6 Figure costs to attend

Published: February 8, 2021 1:34 PM /


E3 2021 plans cover

Plans for E3 2021 have been reportedly sent out to publishers in preparation for this year's event, but nothing is set in stone just yet — the Electronic Software Association membership still needs to approve them.

Last year's E3 originally had an ambitious plan to mix things up. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world in the lead-up to the convention, ultimately leading to E3 2020 being canceled (along with pretty much every other major in-person gaming event of note). Plans for a 2021 show have been reportedly sent out to involved parties, but it's looking like E3 has quite the uphill battle to fight.

E3 2021 plans slice

The Biggest Challenges for E3 2021

One of the biggest challenges facing E3 2021 is the pandemic. That's exactly why this year's show is going to be entirely digital according to VGC's reporting — and that has several advantages.

With no worries about in-person logistics, 2021's Electronic Entertainment Expo would instead focus entirely on digital experiences. These would include:

  • Multiple two-hour keynote sessions
  • An awards show
  • A preview night on June 14, 2021
  • Other smaller streams and events from game publishers and media
  • Specialized remote gaming sessions for gaming media to preview upcoming games
  • Playable demos for the public

It certainly sounds like a tight ship, but there's no shortage of problems for this year's upcoming show. To start, a lot of major game publishers pulled out from last year's conference. Sony backed out of E3 2020 at the beginning of last year. Xbox and Ubisoft similarly pulled out of E3 2020; last year's show was ultimately canceled in the end.

"We are having great conversations with publishers, developers and companies across the board, and we look forward to sharing details about their involvement soon." –ESA Spokesman

Things aren't looking too great for this year's show according to VGC's report. One unnamed "major games company" has already balked at the six-figure fee to participate in E3 2021, opting to run its own show instead.

E3 2021 may very well be a case of too little, too late. Some of the biggest gaming publishers in the world (such as Blizzard Entertainment) have been running their own shows for years and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to several other gaming publishers following suit with their own shows. This year's E3 will be taking place from June 15–17, 2020, although there's no way of knowing which game publishers will actually show up.

Do you think E3 can succeed as a virtual show or is it dead on arrival? Which gaming publisher did the best job of running its first virtual show last year? Let us know in the comments below!

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One of my earliest memories is playing Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I… More about Robert N