E3 is one of the most exciting times of the year for gamers, when the latest and greatest upcoming game announcements and previews are finally released into the wild. This year, however, concerns over the coronavirus outbreak caused the event’s cancellation back in March. The game goes on, however, with companies planning livestreams and video reveals to replace the canceled E3 2020 schedule.
The E3 conference schedule is usually difficult enough to follow, but the replacement streams are all over the place. To help you keep track of this year’s E3 announcements, we’ve put together a guide to the digital event so you don’t miss a single new game announcement or trailer.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect postponed E3 digital event dates.
What is E3?
The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, is an annual trade show and conference for video games. It usually takes place at a conference center in Los Angeles in June, and 2020 is the first year in its 25-year history that the event has been cancelled.
In recent years, some game companies like Sony and EA have pulled out of E3, with the latter holding its own parallel event nearby. Anticipation for E3 2020 was especially high with the upcoming release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles this holiday season. ESA, the organizers of E3, also revised the layout of the event to make it more consumer friendly, and expanded the number of passes available to the public from 15,000 to 25,000.
Why was E3 canceled?
With COVID-19 outbreak endangering the health of exhibitors and attendees alike, the ESA announced the cancelation of E3 2020 on March 11, 2020. Earlier in the month officials in Los Angeles County declared a state of emergency, making it virtually impossible to organize the massive event. Even before other parts of the United States began issuing stay-at-home orders, the risk of so many people from around the world congregating in one convention center was also too big to ignore.
With the cancelation taking place a full three months before the event, no companies had yet announced any plans to pull out of the event. Organizers issued a full refund and promised to showcase E3 game announcements on the E3 website. Initially the ESA hoped to hold some E3 digital events, but ultimately opted to promote alternative external events on its official channels.
What is the E3 2020 schedule?
Although officially the E3 2020 schedule has been scrapped, that doesn’t mean that exciting E3 game announcements won’t happen! The initial event was scheduled for June 9-11, but some digital replacements are taking place as early as June 6. Check out the full E3 schedule below and scroll down for more details on each event. We’ve also included links to where you can learn more about where to watch E3 replacement events.
|Event||Date||Time (PDT)||Time (BST)|
Event:Indie Live Expo
Event:IGN Summer of Gaming
Event:World of Warcraft: Shadowlands reveal
Event:The Escapist Indie Showcase
Event:Sony PS5 reveal event
Event:PC Gaming Show
Event:Future Games Show
Event:Upload VR Showcase
Event:New Game+ Expo
Event:Cyberpunk 2077 - Night City Wire
Indie Live Expo
For fans of indie games, the announcements start early at the Indie Live Expo. It will feature news and announcements for a variety of indie games from both the West and the East, with messages from legendary creators like ZUN (Touhou Project), Toby Fox (Undertale), and Kazuya Nino (from TYPE-MOON).
IGN’s Summer of Gaming
One of the best places to catch new games that were originally slated as E3 announcements is IGNs Summer of Gaming event. It kicks off June 8 and extends through to the end of the month. Expect new game reveals, trailers, and developer interviews at streamed events. It isn’t as expansive as the former E3 conference schedule, but you can check out the full schedule Summer of Gaming schedule here.
The Escapist Indie Showcase
In the wake of E3’s cancelation, many sites are scrambling to fill the void by scheduling their own events. One such event is The Escapist Indie Showcase, which is set to reveal more than 70 games over four days, from June 11-14.
Sony PlayStation 5 reveal event
Sony also works outside of the typical E3 conference schedule, and last year the Japanese giant didn’t hold any conference at all. With the PS5 just around the corner, Sony had planned a reveal event for June 4, but protests breaking out across the US lead to the announcement getting delayed until June 11. It will run for a little over an hour, and might offer a first look at the console itself.
EA Play always has taken place outside of the official E3 schedule since 2016, so in a way this year’s event timing isn’t a big change. Many of the details have been kept in the dark, but EA is well known for sports games, Apex Legends, Battlefield titles, and more. In lieu of a physical event this year’s EA Play will be streamed live starting June 11 at 4PM PDT.
Guerrilla Collective is a new event this year, but it has an impressive lineup of pre-E3 announcements. These include a variety of indie games and exclusive details about Larian Studios’ highly anticipated RPG Baldur’s Gate 3. After the postponement, it will now take place from June 13-15 and can be streamed for free on Twitch.
PC Gaming Show
Not much has been revealed about the 2020 edition of the PC Gaming Show, but if last year is any indication it should be filled with exciting announcements. In 2019 it kicked off just ahead of the official E3 schedule, but this year the event has been postponed from its original June 6 start date in light of protests breaking out across the United States. It will be hosted by Day and Frankie Ward on June 13, starting at 12PM PDT.
Future Games Show
GamesRadar’s Future Games Show might only be an hour long, but it’s sure to be filled with never-before-seen footage and game announcements. It will include console, mobile, and streaming game announcements, as well as developer interviews and more. The action starts June 13 at 2:30PM PDT.
Upload VR Showcase
Trade shows like E3 are great places to see emerging tech like VR, but with the official schedule thrown out the window the Upload VR Showcase is the next best thing. It will feature 20 VR games and experiences, so fans of VR should be sure to tune in on June 16.
New Game+ Expo
This replacement E3 digital event will take place later in June on the 23, but it will showcase games from popular Japanese companies like Atlus, SNK, SEGA, NIS America, and more.
Cyberpunk 2077 Night City Wire
Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the most anticipated E3 games this year, and developer CD Projekt Red has organized a special streaming event as part of the Summer Game Fest to hype it up. It was originally scheduled for June 11, but later delayed to June 25. The stream start time still hasn’t been announced.
BitSummit might not be well known in the West, but it’s one of the biggest indie game developer conferences in Japan. This year, the event is moving online as BitSummit Gaiden, with showcases and let’s plays of new games taking place from June 27-28.
Microsoft’s Xbox 20/20
Microsoft’s Xbox has a bit of a confusing schedule for 2020 announcements, spreading them out throughout the year in what it’s calling Xbox 20/20. These take the form of monthly announcements about the upcoming Xbox Series X consoles, first party games, Game Pass, and the xCloud streaming platform. The first reveal was May 7, but the June date has yet to be revealed.
Summer Game Fest
One of 2020’s biggest sources of non-E3 announcements is the Summer Game Fest, which stretches from June to August. It isn’t a singular show in that regard, but so far it has featured reveals of Valorant, Wild Rift, Unreal Engine 5, and more. The best place to keep track of the latest is the official Summer Game Fest Twitter profile.
Although it doesn’t take place until July 12, Ubisoft’s reputation as a gaming powerhouse warrants highlighting this upcoming event. The company promises an “E3-style showcase” of some of its upcoming games at what its calling Ubisoft Forward, including Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs: Legion, and Rainbow Six Quarantine.
Nintendo E3 schedule
Nintendo’s E3 schedule is still somewhat of a mystery. With 2020 being the 35th anniversary of the Mario franchise, Nintendo had planned to reveal new games in a June edition of its streaming event Nintendo Direct. This was later postponed, leaving the 2020 Nintendo E3 schedule up in the air.
Some game announcements, like the new Paper Mario: The Origami King coming in July, dropped suddenly and without warning. We’re hoping for news on Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2, but stay tuned for more info on what Nintendo is up to soon.
E3 announcements so far
It’s still early, but a few companies have already made major announcements ahead of the E3 digital events. The most notable of these is Microsoft, which unveiled its the upcoming Xbox Series X console in March, then a variety of games in the first Xbox 20/20 event on May 7 (seen above). Many of these games will also come out on the Xbox One, with Smart Delivery instantly unlocking the upgraded version as soon as you buy the new console.
The Summer Game Fest also started back in May, and it already has several high profile game announcements under its belt. Those include Valorant (which released on June 2), Unreal Engine 5, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2 remakes, and League of Legends Wild Rift. Replacement E3 game announcements from the Summer Game Fest typically happen twice a week, so expect many more in the months to come.
Square Enix’s Outriders was set to be one of the highlights of the initial E3 schedule, but the Japanese company has since committed to publishing monthly announcements on YouTube. The first took place on May 28, giving a first glimpse of the game’s backstory and gameplay. The official release date is holiday 2020.
For indie fans, the Wholesome Games Indie Showcase on May 26 revealed more than 50 cute, relaxing titles. You can check out the full stream on YouTube, or read about each of the titles on the Wholesome Games website.
Other frequently asked questions
Q: What does E3 stand for?
A: E3 stands for Electronic Entertainment Expo. It’s frequently referred to in official documentation as the E3 Expo, which repeats the word Expo. Don’t ask us why.
Q: Where is E3 held?
A: E3 is usually held at the Los Angeles Convention Center in the United States. 2020 is the first time in 25 years that the event will not be held.
Q: Who organizes E3?
A: E3 is organized by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). The ESA is the largest trade association for video games in the United States.
Check out some of our other great gaming content: