E3 says 2021 event will be ‘free event for all attendees,’ but reports suggest it could charge for ‘premium’ access

It looks like even more changes could be coming to the event.

Image via ESA

New reports suggest the Electronic Entertainment Expo, widely known as E3, which was reported to be working on a new digital event for June, is moving forward with a different look. 

The event will rebrand to the Electronic Entertainment Experience and could potentially include a new on-demand service for some of its features, according to the Video Games Chronicle.

At one point, the ESA was considering charging consumers $35 for “premium” access, according to VGC reporter Andy Robinson.

VGC said the company wants to partner with Nvidia to power the demos using its GeForce Now platform. But it appears that the ESA is also “willing to scrap the proposal, following negative feedback.”

The official E3 account responded to these reports, saying that “E3’s 2021 digital show is a free event for all attendees” and “real news” for the event is coming soon. But Robinson said the company still had not responded to his questions about the paywall.

This new variant of E3 will reportedly focus on digital presentations and engaging its audience through an app. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is also reportedly trying to recruit developers and publishers for the show for its three days of broadcasting, starting on June 13.

“E3 has always served as the gaming industry’s uniting force, a moment each year where the best and brightest gather to release the latest announcements and game demos in support of not only their individual objectives, but to evangelize the entire industry,” a pitch to companies acquired by the VGC said. “In 2021, E3 is much more…. Welcome to the Electronic Entertainment EXPERIENCE. International, Inclusive. Innovative, Irresistible and ‘in your hands’ wherever you live.”

For its on-demand service, the ESA is reportedly looking into possible methods that would allow game demos to be streamed directly from the cloud and allow players at home to still experience some hands-on impressions for new titles. 

The newest report also suggests that E3 2021 will run multiple presentations from participating partners that will be broadcast from a physical stage in Los Angeles. But it’s still unknown which companies will take part in the event and if the stage will be built within the Los Angeles Convention Center or LA Live complex. 

In addition, there are reports that virtual booths will be used in the E3 app to provide easy navigation between participating companies, game demos, merchandise, and presentations. 

E3 2021 is still seeking approval from the ESA’s membership, including the gaming industry’s biggest companies and publishers. And it’s still unclear how many outside companies will want to use E3 to reveal their newest products.