As we’ve likely all heard, E3 is off this year thanks to the global Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. To replace the week-long announce-o-rama that happens each June, Geoff Keighley (Mr. Game Awards and Death Stranding cameo man) has announced a four month long online event called the Summer Game Fest running from May until August. Looks like he’s corralled all the usual big swingers together to deliver their planned announcements, trailers, and demos under his new banner. The king is dead. Long live the king, I suppose.
“In these uncertain and challenging times, it’s more important than ever that video games serve as a common and virtual connection point between us all,” Keighley says. After E3 was cancelled, a couple publishers like Microsoft and Ubisoft expressed that they’d still be planning to deliver announcements in a digital format, though they’d not yet explained their actual plans. It seems that Summer Game Fest is giving them a different banner to organise beneath, albeit in a much longer format.
The list of companies participating is pretty lengthy. We’ll be hearing from the likes of 2K, Activision, Bandai Namco, Bethesda, Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Riot, Sony, and quite a few more. Interestingly, Bethesda’s shown up on the list of names after announcing that they wouldn’t be doing a digital showcase this June. Warner Brothers are participating too, less surprising given that this year was rumored to be their first E3 showcase.
“As part of Summer Game Fest season, Steam, Xbox and other platforms will offer fans access to playable, limited time demonstrations and trials of select game content,” says the Summer Game Fest announcement. Apparently they’re folding in the Steam Game Festival for June as part of SGF. “Geoff Keighley will host special pre and post shows for flagship publisher events,” which they say will run on several different platforms, including Mixer, Twitch, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.
It’s good to see someone organising all the kittens so they don’t run off in separate directions without E3 playing host. Honestly though, a protracted four months of dripping announcements is exactly what I feared an E3-less summer would look like.
The magic of E3—for me, a person who has never attended in person—is the sleepless, adrenaline-fueled week of announcements WHAM and BAM right after one another followed by a deep hibernation to ruminate on what I’ve seen. I just hope I’m not exhausted by August or, worse yet, feeling un-excited by it all because my thrilling sprint week has been turned into every other season of gaming announcements.
The part to be excited about, by my measure, is this year’s continued focus on giving those of us at home access to demos for upcoming games instead of waiting to hear reports back from those that managed the trek to Los Angeles.
The Summer Game Fest begins this month and will run through August with a slew of “digital news, in-game events, playable content, and more.” We do like some playable content, don’t we? You can keep up with the SGF on their website, though you can expect us RPS newsfolk to be relaying the PC bits to you right here as well.