Everything you need to know about Summer Game Fest, E3’s online replacement
Geoff Keighley's four-month reveal extravaganza will feature games from Microsoft, Sony, Riot, Bethesda, Square Enix, and more.
On May 1, Game Awards impresario Geoff Keighley announced Summer Game Fest, a collaboration with many major players in interactive entertainment. The four-month-long event will include updates on previously announced games, in-game events, and free playable content for many different video games. For anyone hungering for major announcements, a press release for the event also promises "breaking news," which presumably means first-look reveals for new titles, expansions, and more.
“In these uncertain and challenging times, it’s more important than ever that video games serve as a common and virtual connection point between us all,” said Keighley in a press release. “SGF is an organizing principle that promises fans a whole season of video game news and other surprises from the comfort of home."
Based on the reveal teaser video and Keighley's May 1 Reddit AMA, here's everything we know so far about Summer Games Fest.
When does Summer Games Fest take place?
The event runs from May 1 until August 24, culminating in the Gamescom: Opening Night Live event. Specific event details will be shared by individual publishers, and additional publishers taking part in the event will be announced in the coming weeks.
SGF is an umbrella term for a series of smaller events and reveals. Unlike E3, this isn't intended to be a single show. SGF should be treated as a collection of Nintendo Direct-esque presentations from various companies in gaming. The SGF website will act as a hub that establishes a schedule and provides links to view the individual presentations. A full event schedule will launch via the Summer Games Fest website on Tuesday, May 5.
Prior to the full schedule reveal, Keighley has confirmed that there won't be daily events. Things will be spread out and depend upon when publishers have new updates to share on a rolling basis.
According to the organizers, Steam, Xbox and other platforms will offer fans access to "playable, limited time demonstrations and trials of select game content. Specific game content and timing will vary by platform."
Programming that is a part of the Summer Game Fest will be shared across all major streaming platforms, including publisher channels on Facebook, Mixer, Twitch, Twitter, YouTube and more.
The first of these events to be officially announced is Inside Xbox, which is set to stream on May 7.
Which developers are involved in Summer Games Fest?
According to the official press release detailing "Phase 1" here are all the publishers taking part in the event so far:
2K, Activision Publishing, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Bethesda, Blizzard Entertainment, Bungie, CD Projekt Red, Digital Extremes, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Private Division, Riot Games, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Steam, Square Enix, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
More developers will be revealed in subsequent "Phases." When a "Phase" begins or ends is defined by when there's enough developers involved. Keighley has said there could hypothetically be infinite phases, assuming there's ample support. They haven't set a limit on the number of developers that can be involved.
It has been announced that there will be more phases of partner announcements at a later date.
Which developers won't be in Summer Games Fest?
Nintendo and Rockstar Games are two notable exclusions from the list, which might feel like bad news for fans eagerly awaiting news on the next installment of the Grand Theft Auto series and Breath of the Wild 2.
That doesn't mean they're not welcome. Nintendo has an open invitation from Keighley to join whenever it pleases, and the overall fluid structure of the festival makes it seem like everything is always in flux.
Which games are included in Summer Games Fest?
We don't know exactly which games are to be included within the Summer Games Fest yet. An early trailer for the event showcased footage from The Last of Us Part 2, Ghost of Tsushima, Gods & Monsters, League of Legends, Psychonauts 2, Halo Infinite, Cyberpunk 2077, Marvel's Avengers, and more.
It's unknown if every game shown in the trailer will have a presence at SGF, but we can imagine a few will make the leap. Microsoft, PlayStation, and CD Projekt Red have already been revealed as publishers involved with SGF. It wouldn't be unrealistic to imagine Ubisoft would join the fray with Gods & Monsters, which launches shortly after SGF concludes.
What else did Keighley say about SGF?
In not so many words, Keighley implied that SGF might be used to showcase the upcoming PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X as well.
"Obviously this is a new console launch year so it's exciting to see what Xbox and PlayStation have in store," Keighley said when asked about what publishers he was most excited.
"It's a really exciting time when a new console cycle starts!" he said in another comment. "The things I've seen ... it's going to be an AMAZING summer!" We can assume that both next-gen consoles could see a full reveal during SGF, whether as part of it or at events taking place during that time period. Perhaps Sony will follow Microsoft's May 7 event with its own reveal; A recent leak said we could see a PS5 showcase on June 5, 2020. In theory, both of these will fall within Summer Games Fest even if they're not officially a part of it. To most gamers, that distinction will feel almost nonexistent.
Keighley also confirmed that in addition to Inside Xbox, Microsoft has multiple events planned throughout SGF's run.
SGF is an idea Keighley has had for a while and not one he came up after E3 was canceled. However, Keighley did accelerate his plans for an E3 substitute in response to the cancelation. There are currently no plans to host SGF next year, but it might return if the 2020 run performs well.
Keighley created SGF to help unite the global gaming community in a time when it feels more divided than ever.
"I wanted to create an event that was global, digital, and interactive," he said. "All these big in-person events are great, but Game Awards has shown me how games connect the WORLD. And let's face it, a LOT of people are never going to get to an E3 or PAX ... especially in today's world."
One thing's for sure: Gaming is about to have its biggest summer ever.