Following the cancellation of E3 2020, the annual game expo is back with a bang for 2021 in a new online-only format. As confirmed by the ESA, E3 2021 will kick off this week and is set to feature announcements from publishers including Microsoft, Nintendo and Take-Two Interactive, so expect a busy four-day event.
Here’s all you need to know about E3 2021, from dates, pricing and how you can tune in, alongside all the confirmed publishers, streams and the games we expect to see at the show.
When is E3 2021?
As confirmed by the ESA, E3 2021 is set to run between 12 and 15 June 2021.
Unsurprisingly, the ESA has decided to shift to an online-only focus for E3 2021.
The show will mainly be accessible via a new E3 app and online portal - more below - with Stanley Pierre-Louis, president of the ESA, teasing “major reveals and insider opportunities that make [E3] the indispensable center stage for video games”.
Confirmed E3 2021 publishers and events
As with previous years, not every publisher will officially take part in E3, with major players like EA and Sony sitting it out - though EA had its own Battlefield reveal event just before the official show, and will have an EA Play event in July.
Here's the full schedule so far:
|E3 2021 schedule||Event Date (UK)||UK time (BST)||EU time (CEST)||East Coast US time (EDT)||West Coast US time (PDT)|
|Summer Game Fest Kickoff Live!||Thursday, June 10||19:00||20:00||14:00||11:00|
|Koch Primetime||Friday, June 11||20:00||21:00||15:00||12:00|
|Guerrilla Collective||Saturday, June 12||16:00||17:00||11:00||08:00|
|Wholesome Direct||Saturday, June 12||18:00||19:00||13:00||10:00|
|Ubisoft Forward E3 2021||Saturday, June 12||20:00||21:00||15:00||12:00|
|Devolver Direct 2021||Saturday, June 12||21:30||22:30||16:30||13:30|
|Gearbox E3 Showcase||Saturday, June 12||22:00||23:00||17:00||14:00|
|Xbox and Bethesda Showcase||Sunday, June 13||18:00||19:00||13:00||10:00|
|Square Enix Presents||Sunday, June 13||20:15||21:15||15:15||12:15|
|Back 4 Blood||Sunday, June 13||22:00||23:00||17:00||14:00|
|PC Gaming Show 2021||Sunday, June 13||22:30||23:30||17:30||14:30|
|Future Games Show||Sunday, June 13||00:00*||01:00*||19:00||16:00|
|Take-Two Interactive||Monday, June 14||18:15||19:15||13:15||10:15|
|Capcom E3 Showcase||Monday, June 14||22:30||23:30||17:30||14:30|
|Razer||Monday, June 14||23:00||00:00**||18:00||15:00|
|Nintendo Direct E3 2021||Tuesday, June 15||17:00||18:00||12:00||09:00|
|Bandai Namco||Tuesday, June 15||22:25||23:25||17:25||14:25|
|E3 Awards Show||Tuesday, June 15||00:45***||01:45***||19:45||16:45|
*Monday June 14, **Tuesday June 15, ***Wednesday June 16
There are a few big omissions from that list, including Activision-Blizzard, Konami, and Sony, although they aren’t exactly a surprise given their absence in recent years.
Which game announcements should I expect?
It’s too early to say with certainty which games are going to be showcased during E3 2021, but given the list of confirmed publishers and the huge swathe of in-development games right now, we expect to see the following titles in some form at E3 2021:
- Battlefield 2042
- Far Cry 6
- Rainbow Six Extraction
- Skull & Bones
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
- The Lord of the Rings: Gollum
- Next-gen GTA Online (or possibly even GTA VI)
The good news about the online focus of E3 2021 is that you’ll be able to watch everything from the comfort of your own home, arguably a big improvement on the busy, hot mess that is the regular in-person event depending on who you ask.
According to the E3 2021 website, those that want to join in on the fun can expect not only big press conferences with new trailers and announcements, but a four-day-long video stream showcasing smaller titles, developer interviews and more.
That content is accessible mainly via a combination of an online portal and a dedicated smartphone app. The ESA has described the portal and app as "a key hub for the duration of the show" featuring livestreams, announcements, virtual booths, online forums and more, and you'll get to customise your own avatar too. It is a gaming show after all!
The virtual exhibitor booths will offer special events as well as VOD content, and will act as a hub for all announcements from that exhibitor. It gets a little weirder in the social department, with the ESA teasing "gathering spots for all E3 attendees" and leaderboards that encourage as much interaction as possible.
The app is available to press and industry professionals now, while the public will be able to download it from the beginning of the show on 12 June 2021. Anyone can sign up for access via the E3 Expo website now.
Despite the reveal of the new app, the ESA has confirmed that attendees will also be able to live stream announcements on the likes of YouTube and Twitch from the specific companies providing each stream, so don't worry too much if you don't like the sound of the E3 app. Check out the links to individual events in the schedule above for guides on how to watch everything live.
Will I have to pay to watch E3 2021?
Before confirming this year’s show, rumours were circulating suggesting that the ESA was planning to monetise the show, locking specific content behind a paywall on the E3 website. It’s not hard to see why the ESA would want to try and monetise the show given it usually charges $149-249 for the pleasure, but it’s safe to say that fans weren’t happy about the idea.
Thankfully, the rumours proved to be untrue, with the ESA confirming that E3 2021 is set to be completely free for all those who want to tune in from the comfort of their own homes, reiterating in a recent press release that "registration for access to the online E3 portal will be free".
As we hear more details we’ll be sure to update this article, so head back soon for the latest E3 2021 news.