E3 2020 is cancelled. Gamescom 2020 is cancelled in lieu of some digital event. San Diego Comic Con is cancelled. GDC 2020 was cancelled already. SXSW was cancelled and the annual Sonic the Hedgehog panel died with it. You get the picture here - the COVID-19 virus has killed enough events to totally disrupt the usual gaming news cycles. But the show must go on, and publishers need to get the word out. Luckily, several other spaces have stepped up and provided platforms for video games to continue happening. Here are the online events you can look forward to.
IGN Summer of Gaming
IGN was the first to announce one of these events, and will be hosting its Summer of Gaming content in early June. One of the world’s biggest entertainment media websites has shacked up with several companies, including Square Enix, Sega, Bandai Namco, and CD Projekt RED, to provide a wide array of news, demonstrations, and presentations. IGN is always a huge presence at E3, and it seems like the Summer of Gaming is definitely gunning to fill that void.
Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition
The Game Awards launched a side event last year called the Game Festival, which let publishers temporarily upload game demos to Steam. This helped the fans at home get a similar taste to what fans attending events had access to. Starting in June this event will return, and Geoff Keighley has stated his organization is working on making this one multiplatform. This could mean unprecedented hands-on access to E3-style demos.
Future Game Show
Like IGN, game website GamesRadar is hosting an E3 2020 replacement event, although this one seems to be a bit smaller scale. GamesRadar’s Future Game Show is a singular, one-hour broadcast event, but it won’t be without substance. There will be demos and hands-on demonstrations, but GamesRadar also notes there will be exclusive news as well. Perhaps this one will end up as more of a palate-cleanser, but a good surprise or two could be tucked in here.
Xbox Digital Event
It’s safe to say that the big three (Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo) all have something planned for the summer season. After all, the next console generation is hopefully still kicking off this holiday season. Regardless, the only company that has stepped up so far is Microsoft. Before announcing all of its events will be digital through 2021, Phil Spencer got ahead of things after the E3 news and noted the Xbox brand will have a digital showcase event to replace its E3 plans.
Finally, while E3 has never been huge on indies (although they do show up), GDC is absolutely where tons of indie developers try to stake their claims every year. Luckily, the community is trying to look out for them too. Not E3 is exactly what it sounds like, a non-E3 but around E3 time event with a specific focus on smaller, indie titles. We have no idea what could come of this one, but that’s the beauty of the indie games scene.
That’s all for now, though I have no doubt we’ll be seeing more little events and showcases crop up by June 2020. E3 is a huge deal every year despite the physical event’s waning effectiveness, and the pandemic situation forced everyone’s hand early. While the ESA is working on a reinvention for 2021, that leaves a wide-open space for new ideas this year. From IGN to the Game Festival, there is still tons of E3-like content lined up for this summer. “Gamer Christmas” is still on this year.