Today, Geoff Keighley has unveiled his plans for this Summer with the announcement of the Summer Game Fest. It’s a four-month-long, industry-wide celebration of gaming that will feature publisher news events, in-game events, playable content, and demos. Summer Game Fest will run from May-August concluding with Gamescom Opening Night Live, another event Keighley helps put together and host.
With the Coronavirus pandemic affecting the games industry, it has led to the cancellation, postponement, and change of events such as E3 2020, Gamescom, and GDC. It has also led to other outlets such as IGN doing their own events as the industry tries to fill the void that was E3.
Speaking to gamesindustry.biz, Geoff Keighley noted that as things changed and events were either canceled or postponed, many came to him to see if he had anything planned. After talking with many people in the industry, the Summer Game Fest was born. Geoff Keighley looks at it as “less of a single event and more of a Google calendar for industry digital showcases, game trailers, launches, in-game events, and free digital demos.” A schedule of events is set to be released on Tuesday.
Publishers and developers who will be a part of Summer Game Fest include 2k, Activision, Bandi Namco, Bethesda, Blizzard, Bungie, CD Projekt Red, Digital Extremes, EA, PlayStation, Private Division, Riot Games, Square Enix, Steam, Warner Bros., and Xbox who is set to reveal the first look at Xbox Series X gameplay next week which is a part of Summer Game Fest. This is all part of Phase 1 with more expected to be announced later.
Before this year’s E3 was canceled, Geoff Keighley announced that he wasn’t going to be a part of it which was a big deal because he is one of the biggest names in the industry. He revealed that one of the reasons he decided to pull out of the event was how there was a hesitation to go more digital and global. “I just didn’t feel confident that the show was going to best represent the industry,” Keighley said. “And honestly, what I pitched to E3 initially was something that was more digital and global, because that’s where I wanted to see things go anyways.”
One of the more interesting and exciting things about Summer Game Fest and the other events that Geoff Keighley has put together is the inclusion of free demos. During last year’s Game Awards, Keighley announced the Steam Game Festival. The Festival offered over a dozen game demos that were available to play for a limited time. The Game Festival returned in Spring this year and will be back in June.
Keighley believes that free, digital demos are one way that digital events can evolve. He said, “I think the idea of giving people playable content is going to only grow. And now you have to download these things, but I think there’s a future where, over Cloud or something, you’ll start to get things to stream and play instantly. I think these barriers are going to come down not this summer, but in the future, and I think we’ll get to the point where it’ll be playable trailers. Where you can just have a really amazing four-minute experience in a game and then want to check it out.”
Geoff Keighley also notes that perhaps, as things go back to normal, the industry will continue to shift to global, digital events. “You have to open your mind to different ways of getting news about games. Summer Game Fest is not a big press conference with 5,000 people in an audience hooting and hollering and cheering. And I miss that stuff. Those things are big moments. So how do we create those new moments in this new world order? I think people have to just accept that it’s different. Maybe some things will be even better. And maybe you’ll get more content at home.
“When people watch me on YouTube, it’s a very passive experience. Now I think it’s going to be a more engaged experience, with content coming out and feeling more connected to the community instead of traveling somewhere when a lot of other people around the world can’t.”