E3 2021 Will Take Place as a Free Virtual Conference, In-Person L.A. Event Targeted for Next Year

Video game trade group ESA hopes to return event to Los Angeles in 2022

E3 2021

After last year’s E3 was completely canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the trade group that runs the video-game convention confirmed there will be one in 2021 — although it will be online-only.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced plans for a “reimagined” all-virtual E3 2021, set to take place June 12-15, 2021, featuring news and game reveals. The ESA said it will team up with media partners globally “to help amplify and make this content available to everyone for free.”

ESA said it has “early commitments” for participation from Nintendo, Microsoft/Xbox, Capcom, Konami, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Warner Bros. Games and Koch Media. Notably absent from the lineup is Sony, which had sat out E3 2019 (and was going to skip it last year).

The ESA plans to bring E3 back as an in-person event in 2022 in Los Angeles. Until last year, the confab had taken place annually at the Los Angeles Convention Center since 1995.

“For more than two decades, E3 has been the premier venue to showcase the best that the video game industry has to offer, while uniting the world through games,” Stanley Pierre-Louis, president/CEO of the ESA, said in a statement. “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.”

In 2019, E3 drew 66,100 attendees to the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown L.A., according to the ESA.

With E3 nixed last year, games publishers held their own events. Industry veteran Geoff Keighley, creator of the Game Awards, produced the Summer Game Fest series of online events in 2020, and he’s bringing it back this year (summergamefest.com) as well.