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How to watch the online-only E3 2021

Virtual event to take place in app, web portal

E3 2021 logos on three smartphones Image: Entertainment Software Association
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

This year’s virtual E3 will unfold on the E3 website and in an app, providing online access for anyone who wants to check out the trade show.

The E3 2021 web portal and app will offer “virtual ‘booths,’ hosted events, video conferencing, profile and avatar creation, online forums and more,” the Entertainment Software Association, the gaming industry trade group that runs E3, said in a news release. Registration for access, which will begin later this month, will be free.

The public will be able to log in starting Saturday, June 12 — the first day of E3 2021 — to watch the press briefings live and interact with fans in lounges and on forums. So far, the only press conference confirmed for that date is Ubisoft Forward, which will begin at 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT. In addition, visitors to the E3 2021 app and website will be able to check out exhibitors’ virtual show floor booths for “special events, VOD content and articles.” The virtual event will run from June 12-15.

“From the moment we decided to host E3 virtually, we’ve been focused on providing an interactive experience for fans around the globe that goes beyond the typical livestream,” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, president and CEO of the ESA.

E3 will be far from the only venue for game publishers to showcase their wares in 2021. Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest will return in June, and Electronic Arts announced last week that its E3-like event, EA Play Live, will take place this year on July 22.

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