E3 2019 was already rough due to the absence of PlayStation, but the iconic and long-running June video game expo had to take 2020 off because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Geoff Keighley’s unaffiliated Summer Game Fest took E3’s place and featured a variety of digital events from several video game publishers.
While a year without an E3 felt quite odd, the Entertainment Software Association confirmed on April 6, 2021 that E3 2021 would finally return in June. This is everything we know about the event so far, including dates, price, which major publishers are attending, and how it relates to Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest.
When are the E3 2021 dates?
The ESA revealed that E3 2021 would run from June 12 until June 15. In other words, the show will be spread across four days from Saturday to Tuesday. We can expect a flurry of announcements from video game publishers and events for fans during those days. The name also means something slightly different this year: It stands for Electronic Entertainment Experience instead of Electronic Entertainment Expo.
“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 event the indispensable center stage for video games,” ESA President and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis explained in a press release.
The ESA won’t be the only one livestreaming the event either. The ESA has confirmed that IGN, PC Gamer, GamesRadar, GameSpot, Polygon, and Game Bonfire are all media partners for the event. As such, they’ll have their own officially endorsed E3 broadcasts and coverage.
Which game developers and publishers will be at E3 2021?
While a year of independent events could have caused most publishers to abandon E3 altogether, quite a few are still clearly on board. The following nine publishers have confirmed that they are attending E3 2021 (we’ve also listed games in development at these studios):
- Nintendo (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2, Splatoon 3)
- Xbox (Halo Infinite, Psychonauts 2)
- Capcom (Monster Hunter Stories 2, Pragmata)
- Ubisoft (Far Cry 6, Riders Republic)
- Konami (PES 2022)
- Take-Two Interactive (Kerbal Space Progam 2, NBA 2K22)
- Warner Bros. Games (Hogwarts Legacy, Gotham Knights)
- Koch Media (Chorus, Payday 3)
- Square Enix (Final Fantasy XVI, Forspoken)
Square Enix in particular boasts that E3 will continue a strong year for them. Outriders and NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… hit the market in April, and Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade continues that momentum in June.
Square Enix CEO CEO Yosuke Matsuda told Nikkei (translated by Gematsu) that “as for our lineup beyond that, we’ll make more announcements in the future, including at E3 in June.” Hopefully, we’ll get another Square Enix Presents and learn more about games like Final Fantasy 16 there.
The ESA promises that more developers and publishers will join E3 2021 in the future. These are just the earliest ones to confirm their involvement. It seems like publishers that avoid E3 in recent years, such as EA and PlayStation, won’t attend the conference this year.
As for what to expect from these publishers, the ESA is teasing that there will be lots of press conferences across a four-day livestream. We expect Microsoft and Nintendo to hold their typical E3 events and will almost definitely hear about more showcases as we approach E3 2021.
Is E3 2021 free?
Some reports emerged ahead of the showcase’s announcement saying that E3 2021 might have a paid component. While those reports were concerning, it appears that fans don’t have to worry about paying for access to a digital-only event. The ESA confirmed that the event would be free to access, so you shouldn’t worry about paying to view a livestream.
The press release confirming the event reiterated that it would be free to the public. As of April 2021, there is no paid competent of this year’s E3. We’ll update this post if that changes and as more information about the event emerges.
Is E3 2021 related to Summer Game Fest?
As Geoff Keighley used to host parts of E3, you might think E3 2021 is related to Keighley’s Summer Game Fest and the June 2021 Day of Devs presentation. While Keighley will likely relay E3 announcements on his Twitter and is setting his showcase close to E3, the events aren’t officially affiliated in any way.
This shows that while E3 is returning this year, it certainly won’t be the only source for both indie and AAA news this summer. Which is to say that things possibly won’t ever be like they used to.
E3 returns on June 12, 2021.