You know what I miss? Conventions.
Things obviously ground to a halt last year as COVID made its rounds across the world, shutting down big events and huge gatherings of people. Many of the larger conventions like San Diego Comic Con, New York Comic Con, E3, and others, turned to an online format in order to try and salvage at least some of their events. It doesn't beat being there in person, but hey - at least it's something!
Me at the Star Control: Origins booth, E3 2018
Now, things are slowly starting to open up again as vaccines are distributed, but several large events are still adopting a virtual format this year. This is largely out of an abundance of caution, since they would have been planning for their shows long before they knew what the pandemic would look like at the time their convention was supposed to be. E3 is one such show, and will be presented digitally from June 12-15, 2021.
If you're unfamiliar with E3, it's the world’s premier event for computer and video games and related products. The show is owned and operated by the ESA, the US trade association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of the companies developing and publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the internet.
On E3's website, there is a field for subscribing to a mailing list for updates and information. Fan registration began recently, and as people began to get registered scheduling details began to make their way into circulation. A blog post offers a schedule overview, with the caveat that some things may change leading up to the first day of the broadcast.
Fan access allows people to check out the following:
- Select Exhibitor Booths
- Profile Creation
If you're wondering how exhibitor booths work, E3 provided this explanation: Each booth will feature special events, VOD content and articles, and act as hubs within the portal for key announcements and game or product information tied to participating exhibitors. You can view a full list of exhibitors here.
In addition to the exhibitor booths, virtual attendees will have access to lounges where they can gather and chat with each other, special forum boards that will focus on discussing and sharing what's happening at E3, leaderboards that feature gamified elements that can be collected and displayed, and more.
There are several places to watch the expo live:
While the online format isn't exactly ideal, there are some benefits - namely, anyone can attend and have the same access! There aren't any attendance limits like you might have for an actual physical event. As an added bonus, you won't have to travel and navigate the Los Angeles Airport - let me tell you, LAX was a bit of a terrifying new experience for me the first time I went!
Have you ever been to an E3 before, and what was your favorite moment? Do you plan to attend E3 virtually this year?