E3 2021 Is Still Happening Next Year

E3 2020's cancellation won't stop next year's event, but it could get a facelift.

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The Entertainment Software Association has officially canceled E3 2020, but that doesn't mean the conference won't return. E3 2021 will still happen next year, but it's going to be a little different.

"We thank everyone who shared their views on reimagining E3 this year," the ESA said in a statement to GameSpot. "We look forward to bringing you E3 2021 as a reimagined event that brings fans, media, and the industry together in a showcase that celebrates the global video game industry."

The language the ESA used in its statement suggests E3 2021 could move to something more focused on the video game community than it does major publisher announcements. For this year, the ESA said it could be moving to a digital format to replace the traditional event.

If the coronavirus were the ESA's only concern, E3 2021 would be a given. However, game companies' support for E3 had already begun to dwindle.

PlayStation did not attend E3 2019 and was already planning to skip E3 2020. Nintendo, meanwhile, shifted away from live presentations for E3 2013 and has stuck with its pre-recorded Nintendo Direct presentations ever since. Electronic Arts also stopped participating a few years ago in favor of its concurrent EA Play celebrations.

With E3 2020 potentially being replaced by online-only video presentations, it will be curious to see if publishers move to this permanently for E3 2021. The live press conference certainly has its benefits, especially when Keanu Reeves is on stage, but there are far fewer chances for technical errors when everything is recorded ahead of time. E3 2021 adopting an online-only format would also be far cheaper, though the press and players would lose out on the chance to try new games themselves. As it's a large opportunity for business networking between developers and publishers, they would also lose out by no longer meeting face to face.

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