COVID-19 has been affecting tons of different industries and events worldwide, and with a huge number of people advised to self-isolate and stay at home, the vast majority of tours/live events with mass gatherings have been cancelled. This means that for the games industry, for the first time since 1995, E3 won’t be taking place due to coronavirus.
However, for gamers wanting to get their fix of the latest news on next gen, titles coming up, and interviews with some of the famous and talented faces behind the games, there are a ton of different events coming up as replacements. While you might not be able to go to E3 this year, many of us previously have relied on online coverage anyway, and this year it still seems like we’re going to get that. Interested to find out more? Here are some different excellent E3-esque shows coming up this year, as well as some general information on development issues raised by COVID, and the future of E3 following the pandemic.
Ways to tune in
Want to fill your E3 schedule as much as possible, to fill the massive game-shaped void that the trade show has left? Here’s a list of some of the things that some different companies/people are doing to get us excited in spite of E3’s cancellation:
- Long time industry veteran Geoff Keighley – Known for his work on things like The Final Hours and also more recently The Game Awards – has gotten started with his replacement plans, named under the banner of Summer Game Fest. Known as a sort of ‘Fun Google Calendar’ rather than just one singular event, the live streams are running from May until August, and will consist of game reveals, long-form demonstrations, and Q&A interview sessions with developers. So far, we’ve seen the announcement of a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater remake from Vicarious Visions, and an impressive showcase of Unreal Engine 5 from Epic Games. Thank you Geoff!
- Huge gaming websites IGN and Gamespot are usually two E3 giants when it comes to coverage, and so in the wake of the cancellation news, they’ve taken it upon themselves to provide readers and fans with live events of their own. IGN’s Summer of Gaming will take place in June, featuring presentations from a wide range of different onboard publishers and developers, and Gamespot’s Play for All will also be a multi-week event, helping to raise money for COVID-19 relief. Again, with many companies already signed up, there will no doubt be some head-turning announcements.
- Indie games are the backbone of the games industry, and many of them become some of the most memorable and highly acclaimed games of each year, so it’s great that Kinda Funny are also pairing up with the Guerilla Collective in order to also show some of the latest games coming to different platforms, and some indies that might not have otherwise gotten the spotlight they need.
Developing during an outbreak
With many of us around the world forced to self-isolate and work from home to the best of our abilities, the pandemic has understandably had an adverse affect on many different game development studios, presenting some unique issues. Aside from the the struggles that come with not being able to communicate as directly with your team as perhaps you would be able to when in an office space together (although digital platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams are helping to change that), there are also other concerns that certain studios aren’t equipped for, such as security and accessibility of assets. Studios work hard to keep their projects and games under firm wraps, and having multiple people able to access files from home can increase the possibility of something getting leaked.
Did you know?: Developing from home is just one of the many issues that game companies face, and there are plenty of different issues and hurdles that have to be overcome on a daily basis. Game porting for example, which is the process of transferring games onto different consoles and systems (from Playstations to even tablets and smartphones), can be tricky at time, and with next gen on our doorstep there are going to be many challenges to overcome in optimising for the exciting hardware possibilities.
With game developers and publishers increasingly deciding to do their own live events and game reveals outside of E3, many industry analysts and pundits believe that the event not running this year will be the final nail in the coffin for it, and that it might not come back in the same form ever again. Companies such as Nintendo, for example, have been running their own digital events away from E3 (although within the same timeframe) for quite some time, and don’t necessarily need the stage to keep going. Playstation are also continuing to showcase the latest and greatest with their ‘State of Play’ events, most recently displaying some of the impressive features coming to Ghost of Tsushima, which launches on PS4 in July.
Whether these continuing events highlight the lack of a need for an E3 or not is yet to be seen, but at least fans can rest assured knowing that this year we will have more than enough live events and coverage to hold us over. Which games are you excited for more information on, or are hoping to see revealed in the coming weeks? Join in the discussion below.