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E3 says Nintendo, Xbox among those committed to its free June virtual event

Apr 07. 2021
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By The Washington Post · Gene Park

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, returns June 12 as a virtual event, and its organizers say they've secured commitments from two of the three big platform holders, Nintendo and Xbox.

And after months of speculation whether the event would have an online paywall, the Entertainment Software Association said the event will be free to everyone. A press release also added the ESA will be "working with media partners globally to help amplify and make this content available."

It's not unlike the strategy employed by games industry emcee and personality Geoff Keighley, who last year during the height of the pandemic hosted the Summer Games Fest, which worked with enthusiast gaming sites like IGN.

Along with Nintendo and Microsoft, the ESA said it secured early commitments to participate from Capcom, Ubisoft, Konami, Take Two Interactive, Warner Bros. Games and Koch Media, with "more to come." Sony, the other major gaming company, has not yet announced its plans regarding participating in E3, but has not been a part of the event since 2018.

The event will now run June 12 through 15, a change from its originally announced dates.

For at least the last two decades, the E3 show had been the premiere promotional destination for the games. In recent years, companies have held their own promotional online digital "events," notably Nintendo with its popular "Direct" format on YouTube and other streaming platforms. Even large publishers like Square Enix have jumped onto the trend, creating highly-produced video press reveals.

The ESA revealed no additional information on what kind of format this year's show would take.

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