Update: in a statement issued after the publication of this news, ESA provided additional comments denying that it would charge for E3 content.
“I can confirm on behalf of ESA that there will be no elements at E3 2021 that will be behind a paid or paid access pass,” a spokesman told VGC.
Original News: E3 is considering placing parts of its E3 digital show behind paid access, according to sources on the VGC website.
In February, it was revealed that The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is moving ahead with plans for an E3 2021 digital event and is seeking support from game publishers.
The event, which will be rebranded as an “electronic entertainment experience” (instead of “expo”), is planned to last a week starting June 13 and will incorporate three days of broadcast content, followed by a powered consumer experience by an official E3 application.
ESA’s intention for the 2021 program is to hold several gaming partner presentation sessions, broadcast from a live LED-coated stage built in Los Angeles, as well as an award show, preview night and the capacity of companies to schedule meetings with the media and business users through the app.
However, the main feature of E3 2021’s digital plans may be the on-demand game demos transmitted by the cloud. ESA wants to partner with Nvidia to provide demos using its GeForce Now platform and allow E3 exhibitors to make their playable experiences available to the general public or privately to the press and entrepreneurs through their app.
The plans sent to the companies suggest that the E3 application will include “virtual booths” with content announced during the show, as well as merchandise stores and demos. According to our sources, ESA discussed bundling some parts of its offer to the consumer as part of a paid access pass, which could be for on-demand game demos or a ‘premium’ package with extra access.
However, at least one major gaming company spoke to the VGC website (it was not mentioned which company this is) and was opposed to the paid access plans and suggested that ESA had indicated that it was willing to withdraw from the proposal.
In a note to the VGC, ESA emphasized that whatever happens, consumers will be able to access some kind of free experience.
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