E3 2020 will not have a major livestream event to replace the traditional conference. But the good news is there will be an alternative online experience instead, and there's confirmation of when next year's event will be.
Originally reported by GamesIndustry.biz (via PC Gamer), the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has announced that E3 2021 will run from June 15 - 17, and will be a "reimagined event." However, this message to its partners didn't have anything to say about what would be replacing this year's E3.
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An E3 representative later got in touch with PC Gamer to give a more specific statement on the matter, saying that the event won't be going ahead as it was originally pitched.
"Given the disruption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be presenting an online E3 2020 event in June. Instead, we will be working with exhibitors to promote and showcase individual company announcements, including on www.E3expo.com, in the coming months," said the representative.
"We look forward to bringing our industry and community together in 2021 to present a reimagined E3 that will highlight new offerings and thrill our audiences."
E3 2020 was cancelled in late February as a reaction to the then-developing coronavirus pandemic. It was at this time that the ESA said it was "exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020."
Other gaming industry events, such as GDC, have also been cancelled with various companies then holding virtual press conferences or talks to discuss what they intended to present on stage. This happened with both Microsoft and Sony for some recent Xbox Series X and PS5 announcements.
The so-described "reimagining" of E3 2021 will cause a lot of excited speculation among gamers and developers. Critics of E3 have been saying for several years that the format is outdated, now that companies can announce their products online at a fraction of the cost of reserving a booth on the LA Convention Center show floor. E3 began allowing fans to purchase tickets in 2017, so perhaps E3 2021 will double down even more on being a general entertainment event for gamers.
Or perhaps E3 will try to cater towards smaller and indie developers more, given that big players like Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, EA, Bethesda and others have started holding their own separate events over the past few years. We should have a better idea of what E3 2021 looks like by early next year.