E3 2020 would, normally, be just three months away. But these are not normal times, and this year you won’t be missing a thing by staying home to watch online. In March, the ESA cancelled E3 for the year due to concerns about the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Although the convention can’t take place, companies are planning livestreams, videos, and other online alternatives to get their big announcements out to the public this year even without big stages to do it on.
It won’t be quite the same without wholesome and cringey on-stage adlibing or the opportunities for someone to shout “you’re breathtaking!” at some celebrity cameo. Still, companies plan year-round for the slew of announcements that happen in June and you can bet they won’t let the marketing machine grind entirely to a halt. It will just be switching gears.
For some companies, this isn’t even a disruption to their plans. Sony already pulled its E3 press conference in 2019, opting for a video presentation in the style of Nintendo Direct streams. EA has also previously opted for a day of livestreaming instead of a traditional press conference.
Below you’ll find the dates and times for every fully-online E3 experience we know about so far, and where to watch them. Expect updates as we close in on June and the coronavirus situation continues to evolve.
PC Gaming Show
The PC Gaming Show will go on! Our show to commemorate the next year of PC games will officially happen on June 6th this year. As ever, we’ll be showcasing some of the coolest games coming to the platform and giving lesser known projects a chance to shine as well. Last year we spoke with Baldur’s Gate 3, Borderlands 3, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, and a bunch of other great stuff. As for this year, that’ll be a surprise!
Instead of one big event, Microsoft has decided to do monthly video events that it’s calling “Xbox 20/20” for the rest of the year. The first will be on May 7th.
For its May event, Microsoft say they’ll be focusing on “next-gen gameplay, trailers and sneak peeks from a wide variety of publishing partners and independent developers.” It specifically mentions Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be part of this month’s show. This might also be a good time to hear about Microsoft Flight Simulator. And did someone say Fable 4?
Although Xbox hasn’t given a date for July’s event yet, it will prioritize games coming from Xbox Game Studios. This might be when we hear more about the rest of the Master Chief Collection. We’ll likely have Halo 2 Anniversary in our hands by July so next up will be Halo 3 and ODST, which are supposed to be coming yet this year.
Sea of Thieves continues to get regular content updates as well, so perhaps Microsoft will give us a look at some longer term plans for the slapstick swashbuckler.
Xbox hasn’t yet mentioned its plans for June, though that’s traditionally the big month for announcements.
Ubisoft hasn’t announced yet what its plans are but has said it’s looking into ways to share all its planned announcements online in a “digital experience.”
We already know that Ubisoft has five “triple-A” games coming within the next year, which is quite a lineup. We now know four of them are Watch Dogs Legion, Rainbow Six Quarantine, and Gods and Monsters, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
The last, we’re left to guess on. It’s definitely not Beyond Good & Evil 2, unfortunately. Maybe that Avatar game that Massive Entertainment is reportedly still working on? Probably not, but it would be quite a surprise.
We don’t know Square Enix’s plans in the wake of E3’s cancellation but they’re sure to have something to share. The first installment of the Final Fantasy 7 remake is now out on PS4. Maybe we’ll get Square Enix’s official stamp on a PC port and a date we can expect it by. Perhaps they’ll even share when to expect the next part of the remake? (Haha.) Presumably Square Enix will also be gearing up for the release of Marvel’s Avengers, so we may see some final-looking gameplay for the superhero adventure.
Time: June 11, 2020 @ 4 PM PDT
Although EA usually hosts its pre-E3 event EA Play in person, it’s going online this year with EA Play Live. EA hasn’t said anything about its 2020 lineup, but we can take a guess at what will be there.
It’s EA, so there’s sure to be talk about its yearly sports titles. When it comes to ongoing games, it seems likely that we’ll get some talk about Apex Legends and how EA sees Respawn’s seasonal format carrying into the future. With Battlefront and Battlefield 5 wrapping up their new content cycles, we could see early announcements from those series as well. There’s also Anthem, which has had quite a rough time but BioWare has committed to reinventing. Oh, and what about that Star Wars: Project Maverick leak?
In past years, Bethesda has held down a pre-E3 in-person presentation with music, videos, and Todd Howard’s bomber jacket. Bethesda has now said that it won’t have a digital showcase in June.
Apparently they will still be sharing things about their upcoming games (whew) but it won’t come in that big bonanza format. Here are some of the things we were expecting to hear them talk about.
Bethesda has already mentioned its intention to give players more information on Ghostwire: Tokyo, a spooky thriller which we’ve heard almost nothing of since its announcement trailer at E3 2019. It’s also planning to share more about Deathloop, the first-person action game about the endless battle between two assassins. The big Fallout 76: Wastelanders update is now out but that’s hardly the end of Fallout 76’s story. We’re sure to get some insight on how Bethesda is thinking about the online Fallout’s future after such a big, game-changing update.
Beyond that, will we finally see more of Starfield? Bethesda’s entirely new space-faring RPG has been kept largely under wraps so far. Same goes for The Elder Scrolls 6, which we are—at Todd’s direction—being very, very patient for.
Consciously odd indie game publisher Devolver Digital is no stranger to pre-recorded press conferences. You’ll know the publisher for the wild meta-stories of its past E3 announcements. Shortly after the news of E3’s cancellation, Devolver tweeted that it’s “bummed” but is planning “a livestream Devolver Direct / press conference and possibly more.” We don’t know yet what they’re planning to show off, but you can always expect Devolver to have something strange up its sleeve.
Bad luck for Warner Bros. Apparently the studio was planning to host its first E3 press conference in 2020. We don’t know what the Bros are planning now, but it would be surprising if the studio doesn’t find a way to share plans online. Apparently it was planning to announce two games this year: a Harry Potter game and Batman game. More than likely we’ll still find out what those are in some fashion.
We don’t cover Nintendo Switch games around here but we sure do like playing them after work. We’ve got the Nintendo Direct details here so that you don’t have to go looking for them elsewhere. If nothing else, the increasing number of games with crossplay between PC and Switch players, along with recent cloud save compatibility between Steam and Switch for certain games, means we could get some hardware-y news about how your Switch and gaming PC will continue living happily ever after together.