Despite the persistence of the global pandemic, E3 will take place this year. The only catch is that it won’t be held in person as it has been in the past. This year, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) will host a digital version of E3 that still aims to showcase new and exciting game announcements, as well as updates on games we already know about.
Since E3 is usually jam-packed with games and announcements, things can get overwhelming for viewers. Fortunately, Digital Trends has all the details for this year’s E3, including the participating companies, when the event will take place, and the overall confirmed schedule.
Here’s what to expect from E3 2021.
E3 2021 will run from June 12-15, and is planned to feature digital showcases from major publishers, as well as from media outlets. Think of them as Nintendo Direct-style events that last 15 minutes to upwards of an hour, with plenty of game announcements sprinkled throughout.
The ESA also pitched an idea to include game demos at E3 2021 in some capacity, though it is unconfirmed if this plan will come to fruition. At other events in the past, publishers have given the press access to game demos for coverage purposes remotely, so it’s possible we’ll see some version of this at E3.
Before getting into the E3 2021 schedule, it’s worth mentioning that no publisher has confirmed games for the show. We know that games will, of course, make up the bulk of the event, we just don’t know which ones. Sometimes, a publisher will announce what games it will showcase ahead of time, but for the most part, it’s meant to be a surprise. We’ll keep this article updated with any game confirmations as the event approaches.
The E3 2021 schedule is finalized, with a full list of participating developers and publishers that will be in attendance. There are still a handful of showcases that don’t have exact times yet, but each day has been laid out. The full E3 2021 schedule is as follows:
- Preshow and Wholesome Direct — 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET
- Ubisoft Forward — noon PT/3 p.m. ET
- Devolver Digital — 1:30 p.m. PT/4:30 p.m. ET
- Gearbox Entertainment — 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET
- Upload VR — 3 p.m. PT/6 p.m. ET
- Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase — 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET
- Square Enix Presents — 12: 15 p.m. PT/3:15 p.m. ET
- Warner Bros. Games — 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET
- PC Gaming Show — 2: 30 p.m. PT/5:30 p.m. ET
- Future Games Show — 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET
- Take-Two — 10:15 a.m. PT/1:15 p.m. ET
- Limited Run Games — 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET
- Capcom Showcase — 2:30 p.m. PT/5:30 p.m. ET
- Razer Keynote — 3 p.m./6 p.m. ET
- Nintendo Direct — 9 a.m. PT/noon ET
- Bandai Namco — 2:25 p.m./5:25 p.m. ET
🗓 Nintendo at #E32021: 6/15, 9am PT!
Tune in for a #NintendoDirect with roughly 40 minutes of info focused exclusively on #NintendoSwitch software, mostly releasing in 2021, followed by around 3 hours of gameplay in #NintendoTreehouseLive | E3 2021.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) June 2, 2021
One of the notable changes with this year’s E3 showcase is the presence of an awards show. It will take place on Tuesday, June 15, and will incorporate media professionals from outlets such as IGN, GameSpot, PC Gamer, GamesRadar, and others. These outlets will evaluate the content of the E3 show starting on Saturday, June 12, and vote for the most anticipated game of E3, as well as the most anticipated game from all participating publishers and developers.
Although most participating companies won’t have their own dedicated showcases at E3 2021, they will make an appearance throughout the event in some way. Many publishers will show up during other companies’ major digital events. For example, Capcom may have a game featured during the Nintendo Direct.
These are the companies that will appear throughout E3 2021:
- Activision Publishing Inc.
- Amazon Game Studios
- Bad Button Studio
- Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc.
- Bethesda Softworks
- Capcom USA Inc.
- Click Entertainment
- Deep Silver Inc.
- Epic Games Inc.
- G Fuel
- GTR Simulator
- GungHo Online Entertainment America
- HORI USA
- Hyperkin, Inc.
- Kalypso Media Group
- Limited Run Games
- LGA Enterprises
- Next Level Racing
- Nintendo of America Inc.
- Oculus from Facebook
- RDS Industries Inc.
- Square Enix, Inc.
- Take-Two Interactive Software
- Techni Sport
- THQ Nordic
- Ubisoft Entertainment SA
- UnnamedVR by Paracosma
- Warner Bros. Games
- Xseed Games
The list of attending companies is growing and will likely continue to expand as the event draws near.
While there is a laundry list of publishers that won’t be in attendance at E3 2021, the most notable ones are Sony and Electronic Arts.
With Sony, its lack of participation isn’t unusual, as the company hasn’t attended E3 for the past few years. Recently, the company doubled down on its own presentation called State of Play, which is set up much like a Nintendo Direct. It’s possible Sony could air a State of Play this summer around the time of E3, though nothing has been confirmed.
As for Electronic Arts, it will also be skipping E3 this year, but will host its EA Play Live event on July 22, 2021. In previous years, EA Play Live was an in-person event, but this year’s edition will be virtual, giving its audience a way to safely enjoy the show from home.
EA Play Live is coming back July 22nd. Save the date! pic.twitter.com/qh9OOGhPTm
— Electronic Arts (@EA) May 11, 2021
EA hasn’t detailed what to expect from this event, but many fans are hoping for updates on the next Battlefield installment, along with Dragon Age 4 and other games.
In 2020, the publisher hosted a digital version of EA Play Live, which notably had an announcement about the next Skate game.
The ESA announced an E3 app that will work for mobile devices, giving attendees access to everything the show has to offer. This free app gives users the ability to tour virtual exhibitor “booths” that will have information about the latest games and products. Users are encouraged to sign up.
In addition to visiting booths, users can virtually socialize with one another via the app and participate in gamified attractions to compete for spots on a leaderboard. The E3 app will be an evolution of the ones that came before it, focusing on an all-digital show instead of an in-person event.
This E3 app has gone live for media and the general public, so anyone can jump in and check it out now. Many large-scale events like E3 have utilized apps like these before, serving as a way to keep track of all the activities in one convenient place.
MEDIA REGISTRATION IS NOW LIVE!
Qualified members of the press can now visit https://t.co/QOa74rVCXB and apply for those tasty media credentials 🤤
But there’s more to come!
•Monday May 31 – Industry Professionals & Creators/Influencers
•Thursday June 3 – Fan registration
— E3 (@E3) May 24, 2021
The ESA has opened up E3 2021 registration to the media, as well as for exhibitors, content creators, and the general public. Potential attendees can register for E3 depending on their qualifications. An application for media or content creators does not guarantee entry.