The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) revealed that this year’s E3 will have a digital event due to the worldwide effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic. While there was no doubt that the ESA would make the event available to as many people as possible, a report that came from Video Games Chronicles stated that the event would be locked behind a paywall. This means that anyone who wanted to watch this year’s E3 would have to pay a preset price ahead of time. Thankfully, the ESA has come out and ensured that the digital event would remain free.
E3’s 2021 digital show is a free event for all attendees. We’re excited to fill you in on all the real news for the event very soon. https://t.co/HzTzaQEosx
— E3 (@E3) April 1, 2021
According to the original report by Video Games Chronicles, the ESA was planning on charging a fee for specific content during E3 2021. This content would be locked behind a “premium package” with additional access. According to the post, one of their sources claimed that this package was pitched to publishers with a price tag of $35. Once this piece of information broke on the internet, there was an immediate backlash to the alleged plan.
The ESA responded quickly, tweeting out the aforementioned statement, as well as giving an official one to Video Games Chronicles directly. “I can confirm on behalf of the ESA that there will be no elements at E3 2021 that will be behind a paid-for pass or paywall,” a spokesperson said to the outlet. While it’s great to see the ESA denying the supposed paywall, we still don’t know how the company is going to roll out E3 2021, which as of this writing, still has yet to confirm whether the event will have any in-person attendance in addition to the already established virtual event, similarly to the Tokyo Game Show 2021.
There were some other interesting details that came out of the Video Games Chronicles leak. The event’s official name would be changed from Entertainment Electronic Expo to Electronic Entertainment Experience, which still equates to E3. The event would include some special keynote sessions, as well as an award show and a preview night that would take place the night before the first day. The post also claimed that the ESA was interested in partnering with Nvidia so that they would be able to use the GeForce Now gaming service to stream playable demos of games that were showcased during the event.
As you can imagine, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that a lot of us aren’t privy to. The one major point though, the alleged paywall, is now at the forefront of everyone’s mind for E3 2021. The ESA has soundly rejected the notion of having this implemented, but a lot can change in the coming months, and we’ve only just reached the beginning of Spring. Hopefully, we’ll find out more sooner than later.