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E3 2021: When It Is and What To Expect


E3 2021 is on and though it won’t technically be an in-person, in real life ‘Electronic Entertainment Expo’ like so many years past it has the potential to be the biggest online gaming conference ever. So instead of having to crowd into a hot, humid convention center in LA, we’ll all be able to watch the E3 from the comfort of our homes come this June 12 to June 15.So far, a lot of what will happen at E3 is still unknown. However, a few publishers have already announced their plans to hold their conferences at E3 or in the periphery of the big event. Additionally, we expect a lot of games to reveal new gameplay or at least trailers after making their debut at earlier events like the VGAs, Sony’s PlayStation State of Play, [email protected], and so on.

When is E3 2021?

E3 2021 will take place from Saturday, June 12 to Tuesday, June 15. The online event will consist of several live video conferences and a four-day-long Livestream that will all be accessible to everyone for free. Beyond the official E3 events, Ubisoft and Square Enix among other major video game publishers will be holding their own events throughout the week.

Where is E3 2021?

In case you missed it, E3 didn’t happen in 2020 at all due to the physical show being canceled due to the pandemic last year. This year the gaming event is coming back as a live, online-only event. So you’ll be able to watch Livestreams of all the announcements from YouTube, Twitch, and, of course, on IGN as well.The ESA has also redeveloped its website into an online portal while beefing up its smartphone app. Both will allow users to visit each exhibitor’s ‘virtual booth.’ Additionally, users can watch streams with an interactive overlay that will include view polls, featured tweets, and other pop-up interactions.


It wouldn’t be an E3 conference without an Xbox keynote and it honestly would be impossible since Microsoft is a major partner of the ESA. So, with that in mind, you should definitely expect to see plenty of new Xbox Series X/S games announced. Of the most anticipated games, we fully expect to see Halo Infinite get an official release date, the latest Forza game, and the first Fable game made without Peter Molyneux behind the wheel.

Microsoft also showed off plenty of indie games coming to the Xbox Series consoles at its last [email protected] event. We expect a few of these games, such as Nobody Saves the World and Astria Ascending, will get more stage time during Microsoft’s E3 conference.


Sony has been running its own State of Play events separate from the official E3 conference since 2019 and the company is showing no signs of changing that this year. We expect there will be a packed showing of new games like Lost Judgment. Earlier announced titles like God of War Ragnarok and Horizon Zero Dawn Forbidden West should also be getting their gameplay debuts as well.


Unless there’s been a sudden sea change Nintendo should be holding a Nintendo Direct Livestream as it has for the last several years. Of all the platforms Nintendo has the biggest lineup of big titles to make good on including Metroid Prime 4, Splatoon 3, Bayonetta 3, and Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Although Pokémon Legends: Arceus isn’t expected to release until 2022, we’re hoping to at least get a trailer of this new open-world Pokémon game.

E3 2021 could also be the perfect backdrop for Nintendo to finally introduce the Switch Pro. While it’s been long-rumored, reports of a new handheld console with a larger OLED screen have been heating up recently.


Ubisoft Forward is scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 12 at 12pm PDT / 3pm EDT / 8pm BST. Though it’s one of the earliest announced E3 2021 showcases, there’s still very little we know about it just yet. Expect to see gameplay footage of Far Cry 6 and Rainbow Six: Quarantine. Although Prince of Persia: Sands of Time Remake just saw another round of delays and the game no longer has a ship date, that may change at this event. Our biggest hope is we finally get a look at some real gameplay from Skull and Bones and Beyond Good and Evil 2.


So far it looks like EA isn’t planning on making a big show at E3 as the company has announced it will hold its EA Play Live Showcase on July 22nd. That said, EA probably won’t be completely absent at E3 2021 as the company has also previously teased a Battlefield 6 reveal in June. We’ll have to wait a bit longer to hopefully see what Dragon Age 4 or Skate 4 will look like. EA’s recent acquisitions of Codemasters and Metalhead should also lead to new racing and baseball games from EA too, fingers crossed.

Summer of Gaming

IGN’s own Summer of Gaming event is, of course, returning this year and instead of running as a stand-in for E3, we’ll be partnering with the big gaming conference. Summer of Gaming is a summertime event, but specifically for the week E3 runs from June 12 to June 15, you’ll be able to catch every stream on IGN. Additionally, expect to see exclusive announcements you won’t see from anywhere else.

The PC Gaming Show

The PC Gaming Show runs on June 13 and as you might have guessed from the name, it’s all about PC gaming. While the majority of E3 is focused on console games, this PC Gamer run show is the only one that really caters specifically to PC players. As such, the PC Gaming Show showcases a few more niche genres and games like flight and space simulators, strategy games, puzzle games, and survival games. Last year’s showcase most notably debuted Valheim and the PC port of Persona 4 Golden, so we expect some big surprises this year as well.

Future Games Show

Run by PC Gamer’s sister site GamesRadar, the Future Games Show promises to feature console, PC, and mobile games. The actual games usually featured during this show are a mix of AAA and indie games. Just last year, the Future Games Show revealed new footage for Ghostrunner, Neon Abyss, and Wasteland 3 just to name a few highlights. The Future Game Show will stream on June 13th alongside the PC Gaming Show.

Summer Game Fest

Not to be confused with IGN’s own Summer of Gaming, Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest is a month-long gaming-focused event. It begins on June 10 with an inaugural “Kick Off Live!” show that will feature major announcements and an entire showcase of indie games hosted by iam8bit and Double Fine Productions called Day of the Devs. On the first day of Summer Games Fest, Weezer has also promised a debut of its new “stream safe game soundtrack song.”

Summer Games Fest isn’t just one show, one-day event, it will run through June. With an extensive partner list that includes Annapurna Interactive, Capcom, Devolver Digital, Electronic Arts, PlayStation, Square Enix, Tribeca Festival, and Xbox just to name a few, there shouldn’t be any shortage of announcements from the Summer Games Fest.

Guerrilla Collective

If you just want to see indie games and only indie games, the Guerrilla Collective is the show for you. This indie game-focused showcase is slated to take sometime in June. Last year, the Guerrilla Collective is put together by indie developers and mid-sized publishers, so we should see a collection of games typically skipped over by the larger keynotes.

Steam Next Fest

Valve has always done its own thing ever since it started selling games digitally and well its Steam Next Fest event is very different from the rest of E3. Held from June 16 to June 22, it won’t even be an official part of the show but rather a celebration of upcoming June games. Livestreams and hundreds of demos will allow games to watch and play new games, as well as watch livestreams from developers and talk to them about their works in progress.

E3 2021 Schedule:

Thursday, June 10th

A few days before E3 2021 even start Summer Games Fest is planning on holding its splashy Kick Off Live! event that will include an indie game showcase and even a musical performance.

11:00 AM PT

  • Summer Games Fest – Kick Off Live!

Saturday, June 12th

Ubisoft Forward keynote is so far the first and only major event that will kick off E3 2021 when it officially starts. That said, we’re sure to see more events announced and this schedule fill out as we get closer to the start of the event.

12:00 PM PT

Sunday, June 13

Things for E3 2021 Day 1 pick up with at least two confirmed shows by the Future media group with the PC Gaming Show and Future Games Show. Neither show has a confirmed start time just yet, but we expect they’ll be announced soon along with more showcases too.

  • PC Gaming Show
  • Future Gaming Show

Monday, June 16

Valve might be coming in a day late for E3 2021, but that’s not stopping it from holding its own Steam Next Fest.

10:00 AM PT

Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to [email protected].

Kevin Lee is IGN’s SEO Updates Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam

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