E3, the video game industry’s largest annual conference, is returning as a virtual event after taking a year off due to the coronavirus pandemic. The show will begin on June 12 and continue through June 15 with premieres, announcements, and trailers from major industry players like Xbox, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Square Enix, and Capcom.
Following the launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S|X last year, E3 2021 is expected to focus on the next-generation of games being designed for those consoles. The Nintendo Switch remains wildly popular too, and Nintendo is reportedly working towards an announcement of a new version of the Switch with more power, a better screen, and improved battery life.
E3’s broadcast schedule also includes compilation showcases for PC and indie gaming, giving lesser-known titles an opportunity to shine on the industry’s biggest stage. Some games, like Warner Bros’ “Back 4 Blood,” have their own extended streams planned. Other E3 presenters and publishers include “Borderlands” creators Gearbox, gaming product specialists Razer, the gaming entertainment channel VENN, and Verizon.
How to watch E3 2021
Gamers can also sign up to participate in E3 2021 virtually for free by registering at the conference website. This will give you access to a feed of E3 announcements and let you visit different publisher booths for a closer look at upcoming games during the event.
E3 2021 schedule
Below, we’ve broken down the full E3 2021 schedule and what you can expect from the biggest keynote presentations.
Saturday, June 12
|E3 Pre-show||1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT|
|Ubisoft Forward||3 p.m. ET, 12 p.m. PT|
|Gearbox E3 Showcase||5 p.m. ET, 2 p.m. PT|
|GamesBeat Session||5:45 p.m. ET, 2:45 p.m. PT|
Sunday, June 13
|E3 Pre-Show||11:45 a.m. ET, 8:45 a.m. PT|
|“Naraka Bladepoint” by 24 Entertainment||12:30 p.m. ET, 9:30 a.m. PT|
|Xbox & Bethesda Showcase||1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT|
|Square Enix||3:15 p.m. ET, 12:15 p.m. PT|
|“Back 4 Blood” by Warner Bros. Games||5 p.m. ET, 2 p.m. PT|
|PC Gaming Show||5:30 p.m. ET, 2:30 p.m. PT|
|Future Games Show||7 p.m. ET, 4 p.m. PT|
Monday, June 14
|E3 Pre-Show||11 a.m. ET, 8 a.m. PT|
|Verizon||12 p.m. ET, 9 a.m. PT|
|Intellivision||12:45 p.m. ET, 9:45 a.m. PT|
|Take-Two Interactive||1:15 p.m. ET, 10:15 a.m. PT|
|Mythical Games||2:10 p.m. ET, 11:10 a.m. PT|
|Indie Showcase||3 p.m. ET, 12 p.m. PT|
|Freedom Games||3:30 p.m. ET, 12:30 p.m. PT|
|VENN||4 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. PT|
|Capcom||5:30 p.m. ET, 2:30 p.m. PT|
|Razer||6 p.m. ET, 3 p.m. PT|
Tuesday, June 15
|E3 Pre-Show||11 a.m. ET, 8 a.m. PT|
|Nintendo Direct and Nintendo Treehouse||12 p.m. ET, 9 a.m. PT|
|Bandai Namco Entertainment||5:25 p.m. ET, 2:25 p.m. PT|
|Yooreka Studio||6:20 p.m. ET, 3:20 p.m. PT|
|GameSpot Play For All Showcase||6:35 p.m. ET, 3:35 p.m. PT|
|E3 2021 Awards Show||7:45 p.m. ET, 4:45 p.m. PT|
French publisher Ubisoft is the creator of games like “Assassin’s Creed,” “Far Cry” and “Rainbow Six.” During their E3 address you can expect to see more of “Far Cry 6,” which features actor Giancarlo Esposito of “Breaking Bad” and “The Mandalorian,” as well as gameplay from “Rainbow Six Extraction,” an online multiplayer game that previously premiered as “Rainbow Six Quarantine” in 2019.
Ubisioft has confirmed that a previously announced remake of “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” will not be shown at E3. “Beyond Good and Evil 2,” another long-awaited Ubisoft title, hasn’t shared any news since September 2020 but that last update anticipated a trailer arriving in 2021.
Xbox and Bethesda
Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda has been one of the biggest stories in the gaming business this year, bringing a healthy library of iconic video game franchises like “Fallout” and “Elder Scrolls” into the Xbox family.
While Xbox launched it’s next-gen Series X and Series S consoles in November, the company has been slow to deliver exclusive games. At E3 we expect details on “Halo Infinite,” a flagship Xbox title that was originally intended to launch alongside the Xbox Series X|S but was delayed to fall 2021 to improve the finished product.
Bethesda has fewer announced games on its slate, but fans have been excited for new details on the space roleplaying game “Starfield” and the next “Elder Scrolls” game. Future Bethesda releases will reportedly be exclusive to Xbox consoles and Windows PCs.
This Japanese developer publishes a wide range of blockbuster games, including “Final Fantasy,” “Tomb Raider,” and “Marvel’s Avengers.” The company has promised news on upcoming action game “Babylon’s Fall,” narrative adventure “Life is Strange: True Colors,” and the next big update for “Avengers.”
Square Enix’s Eidos-Montreal will also show a world premiere trailer for their latest game; the same studio previously worked on “Tomb Raider,” “Avengers” and “Deus Ex.”
Take-Two is best known as the publisher of “NBA 2K” and the parent company of “Grand Theft Auto” maker Rockstar Games. Rockstar is currently planning to re-release “Grand Theft Auto V” for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
Take-Two recently signed Tiger Woods to an exclusive deal for future games, so we may see some of PGA Tour 2K22 at E3.
Ultimately, Take-Two’s conference could feature a range of surprises from partner studios; early leaks indicate the publisher could announce a Marvel-themed crossover with its “XCOM” strategy games.
Capcom plans to talk about updates coming to some of the big games it released earlier this year, like “Resident Evil Village” and “Monster Hunter Rise.” There will also be news on at least two upcoming titles, “Monster Hunter Stories 2” and “The Great Ace Attorney.”
It’s not clear what exactly Nintendo has planned for this year’s E3 presentation, but there has been wide speculation that the company could be working on a new version of the Switch with 4K resolution and an OLED screen.
Fans are eagerly awaiting new details on “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2,” but Nintendo is planning to release a remake “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” in July. The company recently announced a new Pokémon game called “Pokémon Legends: Arceus,” so we could see more of that, or the upcoming remakes of “Pokémon Diamond” and “Pearl,” too.
Bandai-Namco has two anime-inspired games set to arrive in the coming months, “Scarlet Nexus” and “Tales of Arise.” Expect to see footage of those two alongside more footage of “Elden Ring,” a new game from “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin and the creators of “Dark Souls.”