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E3, the world’s most popular video games trade event, will not be taking place in its traditional format this year. The news stems from the Board of Los Angeles Convention and Tourism Development Commission, which published a sales update that lists E3 2021 as a “canceled live event.” E3’s organizers, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), is still working with the city on alternative broadcast options at LA Live/LACC and getting an early start on securing licenses for 2022 and 2023, however.

“Cancelled live event in 2021,” a document from the Board of Los Angeles Convention and Tourism Development Commission obtained by Video Games Chronicle reads. “Working with production team on broadcast options at LA Live/LACC. Working on 2022 & 2023.”

According to reports shared earlier this month, the ESA is planning a digital E3 event that would comprise a variety of live-streamed content such as keynote sessions, an awards show, and smaller streams from game publishers, influencers, and media partners. The event is also said to include playable demos available on consumer platforms.

“We can confirm that we are transforming the E3 experience for 2021 and will soon share exact details on how we’re bringing the global video game community together,” an ESA spokesperson said. “We are having great conversations with publishers, developers and companies across the board, and we look forward to sharing details about their involvement soon.”

Ex-Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aimé gave his two cents on the idea earlier this month, noting that the ESA’s plans for a digital E3 didn’t “sound all that compelling” to him. Fils-Aimé believes that the key to a successful digital E3 would be figuring out how to let gamers try out upcoming titles, which is actually what the ESA seems to be trying to do with its demo idea.

“If I were king for a day, I’ll tell you how I would do it,” Fils-Aimé said in a transcript provided by Video Games Chronicle. “I do think doing this digitally is absolutely right and the reason for that is, there are more than the 60,000 people who would typically attend an E3. There are millions more interested in finding out what’s going on and executing an event digitally is the way to bring that to life, so that’s the right track.”

“Having said that, I think that the platform holders need to find a way digitally to enable their fans, their players, to experience the content because that’s the key for E3 right – the ability to be playing The Last of Us Part 3 for the first time, or to play that next Breath of the Wild game for the first time, or to play the next great game coming from the new amalgamation of all the Xbox studios.”

“To play for the first time is what’s magical and the platform holders need to figure out how to deliver that experience to their fans during an E3-like digital experience. I think that would be huge.”

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