E3 2020: Xbox, Nintendo, more expected to move presentations online

E3 2020 had already suffered the loss of live show host Geoff Keighley and production company Iam8bit. — AFP pic
E3 2020 had already suffered the loss of live show host Geoff Keighley and production company Iam8bit. — AFP pic

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LOS ANGELES, March 13 — Flashy keynotes from video game publishers have been broadcast live online to fans for years. With the 2020 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) now cancelled, major companies are now expected to pivot completely online, if only temporarily.

Nintendo, Xbox, Ubisoft and Electronic Arts are among the video game companies expected to shift plans for the 2020 Electronic Entertainment Expo online.

After June’s E3 2020 was cancelled on March 11, a measure taken against Covid-19 coronavirus infection, Nintendo announced that it would “redirect efforts to other ways of keeping our fans up to date,” acknowledging that “large industry events may be untenable for the foreseeable future.”

Nintendo has not held a traditional E3 presentation since 2012, instead producing special editions of its pre-recorded Nintendo Direct videos, followed by several days of live show-floor demonstrations, tours and announcements.

Microsoft’s Xbox division has also been placing greater emphasis on presentations made away from E3. By 2018 it had almost completely decamped from E3’s Los Angeles Convention Centre base to its nearby Microsoft Theater.

Nintendo began uploading its Nintendo Direct videos in October 2011 and Xbox, in apparent

agreement, resurrected its Inside Xbox show in March 2018. Episodes highlight significant upcoming games or run alongside Xbox-focused events, E3 included.

As for PlayStation, Sony Interactive Entertainment announced it would skip E3 2020 back in January, instead proposing a “global events strategy” that involves “participating in hundreds of consumer events across the globe.”

It focused on just four PlayStation exclusives at E3 2018 and was absent from E3 2019, launching its series of pre-recorded video updates, State of Play, a few months earlier.

Away from the three console manufacturers, French headquartered Ubisoft (Assassin’s CreedFar CryJust Dance) is exploring “other options for a digital experience,” and Electronic Arts (of FifaThe SimsApex Legends) staff are “reviewing how it will change our plans” for its E3-adjacent EA PLAY 2020.

Devolver Digital, one of the most visible of the smaller independents, is well known for its satirical pre-recorded E3 presentations.

While “genuinely bummed,” it’s planning on having a livestreamed Devolver Direct or press conference “and possibly more.”

That leaves question marks over any announcements that might have been coming from Bethesda (The Elder Scrolls VI,Starfield), Square Enix (PS5 title Babylon’s Fall) and Activision Blizzard (Call of Duty 2020, Diablo IVDiablo Immortal and Overwatch 2).

Additionally, Warner Bros. is now thought to have been preparing its debut E3 keynote, at which (per Kotaku) it would have revealed new Batman and Harry Potter games, among others. — AFP-Relaxnews

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