E3 2021 – The Great Unknown

Hello there, reader!

It’s been quite a while since I wrote an “All Things Tech” piece. I figured now would be a great time to write about E3 2021 and what all to expect from this convention.

I’ll start off by explaining the title to this blog. This year’s convention is really the great unknown in terms of the world of gaming. We’ve had a global pandemic and now we are going to see some of its repercussions with game and tech development.

We already know that everything that uses a damn computer is dealing with the global superconductor shortage. It’s fairly easy to say that you’re probably not going to see Xbox Series X/S nor PS5 at your local retail store until either the shortage is resolved, or maybe perhaps there will be limited stock trickling in when it finally clicks with retailers that the way to fight scalpers is to make people hunt the stores for their new consoles. I get that we had Covid restrictions last year but now it’s time to bring the consoles to stores. You can go to a corner drug store and get your shots and the CDC is basically saying life is ready to go on.

Xbox doesn’t have as much of a player base, easily half of Playstation. So if you are wanting an Xbox this generation, you will probably find one in half of the time it will take to find a PS5. Now Sony understands they have a production problem and have chosen to slightly re-design some of their architecture within the PS5 to help mitigate the shortage of superconductors. We will see in time how this works, obviously I hope for the best for all involved. I love my Series X and was very lucky to receive one. I wish more people can experience either console so we can share the excitement.

As for Nintendo, it is quite unknown how much this superconductor shortage will affect them. Bloomberg started the speculation for a new/updated Nintendo Switch model about two weeks ago. At the time they said it would be announced prior to E3 so that Nintendo could focus on games. As of today, we still have not seen it. Some of the major media guys have corroborated what Bloomberg was reporting. My question of course is how they expect to make sure there are plenty of consoles this holiday season with this global shortage going on.

Another caveat that makes this convention a great unknown is the steady drop of participation by different companies over the past few years, for all sorts of reasons. For example, a few years ago, EVERYONE was at E3. It was a busy time. I re-watched the highlights from 2019, the last physical E3, we had Xbox give a panel at the convention but Sony and Nintendo decided not to show and do things their own way. Granted, their presentations served their purpose and did them well. There were major publishers having their own mini-show at E3 as a substitute like EA, Ubisoft, and etc.

This year, we have the confusing schedule because Geoff Keighley is doing his own thing with the Summer Games Fest that kicks off this afternoon. It’s technically not E3 but it’s totally timed and meant to compliment E3. The actual convention doesn’t start until this weekend. Here’s the schedule as it stands:

  • Summer Games Fest – Kick Off Live! – Thursday, June 10 at 11am PT
  • Netflix Geeked Week – Friday, June 11 at 9am PT
  • Koch Primetime Gaming Stream – Friday, June 11 at 12pm PT
  • Summer of Gaming – IGN Expo 2021 – Friday, June 11 at 1pm PT
  • Guerrilla Collective Showcase – Saturday, June 12 at 8am PT
  • E3 Preshow – Saturday, June 12 at 10am PT
  • Guerrilla Collective – Wholesome Direct – Saturday, June 12 at 10am PT
  • Ubisoft Forward – Saturday, June 12 at 12pm PT
  • Gearbox Entertainment presentation – Saturday, June 12 at 2pm PT
  • GamesBeat Session – Saturday, June 12 at 2:45pm PT
  • E3 Preshow – Sunday, June 13 at 8:45am PT
  • 24 Entertainment’s Naraka Bladepoint – Sunday, June 13 at 8:45am PT
  • Xbox and Bethesda Showcase – Sunday, June 13 at 10am PT
  • Square Enix Presents – Sunday, June 13 at 12:15pm PT
  • Warner Bros. Games Back 4 Blood – Sunday, June 13 at 2:30pm PT
  • PC Gaming Show – Sunday, June 13 at 2:30pm PT
  • Future Games Show – Sunday, June 13 at 4pm PT
  • E3 Preshow – Monday, June 14 at 8am PT
  • Verizon presentation – Monday, June 14 at 9am PT
  • Intellivision – Monday, June 14 at 9:45am PT
  • Take-Two Interactive Panel – Monday, June 14 at 10:15am PT
  • Mythical Games presentation – Monday, June 14 at 11:10am PT
  • Indie Showcase – Monday, June 14 at 12pm PT
  • Freedom Games presentation – Monday, June 14 at 12:30pm PT
  • VENN – Monday, June 14 at 1pm PT
  • Capcom presentation – Monday, June 14 at 2:30pm PT
  • Razer E3 Keynote – Monday, June 14 at 3pm PT
  • E3 Preshow – Tuesday, June 15 at 8am PT
  • Nintendo Direct – Tuesday, June 15 at 9:am PT
  • Nintendo Treehouse: Live – Tuesday, June 15 at 9am PT
  • Bandai Namco presentation – Tuesday, June 15 at 2:25pm PT
  • Yooreka Games Presentation – Tuesday, June 15 at 3:30pm PT
  • GameSpot Play For All Showcase – Tuesday, June 15 at 3:35pm PT
  • Official E3 2021 Awards Show – Tuesday, June 15 at 4:45pm PT
  • Steam Next Fest – Wednesday, June 16 at 10am PT

As you can see, there’s quite a bit going on. The official convention does not start until Saturday. If you want to watch, just go to either YouTube or Twitch and search each event slightly before they begin and it will take you right to it!

The first event we will discuss is Geoff Keighley’s Summer Games Fest. This event is going to be a month-long deal but today’s kickoff is going to have multiple world premieres and I think this event has some speculation of revealing more of the highly-anticipated Elden Ring. We shall see! I have low expectations for this one, just an introduction to some of the other games being worked on. Now, if they really wanted to start with a bang, they would show the new Switch today.

The next event, and one of my most anticipated events, will be the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase on Sunday.

So, it’s very obvious that the two main headliners are going to be Halo Infinite and Starfield. In terms of Halo, I fully expect they will show more gameplay of the campaign and multiplayer. I would not be surprised at all if they spend some time showing the graphics comparisons to what they showed us in Fall versus the present day. Depending on how they present this, people might have a bit more appreciation for a studio delaying their game to make it better.

Another aspect to Xbox is that they are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. There could be a segment of the presentation honoring the past and showing how far they’ve come, as well as where they’re going next. I’ve got to say their furture is bright.

As for Starfield, I would just like to know what it IS. Perhaps, they can give some gameplay or maybe just breakdown the game at its core, like they did Fallout 4 a few years ago. Not really expecting a quick release but maybe they can give a time frame.

The rest of the presentation has been filled with all sorts of speculation. This includes an announcement of Forza Horizon 5, A new studio acquisition, Microsoft buying an existing game IP (brand) and making their own twist of said game, surprise AAA Game Pass additions such as AC: Valhalla, the list goes on.

We do know that there will be gameplay for Battlefield 2042. There’s been speculation it might be a Game Pass game on its first day.

So for Xbox, I just want them to cover their headlining games in depth. As long as they can keep covering games their studios are working on and maybe some soft timeframes. They need people to come over to Xbox and it’s time to satisfy the appetite. As long as they keep it game centered, they should be just fine. Also, Halo needs to knock it out of the park or it’s done for. No pressure, guys!

This part of my blog is a quick interlude for Sony. All they have to do on their own presentation is just confirm the PS5 production will ramp up. That’s all they got to do. Their player base is large and they have some money, just get them some consoles and they’re all set to go!

Now, we’re going to cover Nintendo. Another great unknown! Nintendo is known to keep their plans close to the vest, which honestly surprised me when Bloomberg let the cat out of the cage regarding the new Switch model. I like what Nintendo does with their own Direct events. I think this is how they are able to keep everything internal and keep leaks from happening. With E3, you will have a company like Xbox work with the E3 people and I’m sure there is some prior work to setting up their promotional material. I’m sure there are some loose lips and you run a risk of losing the element of surprise.

The first big question is going to be “Will we see the new Switch model?” I think the closer we get to their event, it will be obvious they decided to just announce it with their games.

The second question posed by many people has been “Where is Zelda?” Well, I have a good feeling this conference will be Zelda heavy. First of all, you have the 35th anniversary of Zelda fast approaching. I’m sure they have multiple games planned to celebrate. There is already the Skyward Sword re-make in the works. We already know the sequel to Breath of the Wild is also being worked on.

I fully expect that we will get to learn a lot more about Breath of the Wild 2. At least, they will give us a better trailer, game play sequences, the theme of the game, and of course the actual damned title. Also, I expect them to give a release window. It’s hard to say if it will be late 2021 or early 2022. You can easily see both scenarios.

Of course there are some other surprise games Nintendo has up their sleeve. We’ll see more details on their new first party projects as well as some new third party additions to the Switch. I share a lot of the same desires and sentiments for Nintendo as I do for Xbox. Go showcase your headlining acts and show some new first party games to excite people. 2020 was a very dry year, for obvious reasons.

There is also the extra caveat of potential hardware being revealed as well, so Nintendo does not have to do too much to knock their presentation out of the park.

As stated before, this year’s E3 is the great unknown. You have a convention itself trying to rebound and regain some of its prestige. Then, you have different studios and companies ready to show off what they’ve been working on and build up some hype even during the global shortage of parts needed for their consoles. I can see each major company trying to cater to the existing popular consoles as well as the new consoles until the production gap can be resolved.

I’m keeping my expectations in check, other than, I expect this convention to be games (software) centered versus technology (hardware) centered. Show us what you’ve got!

Thanks for reading! You can expect a follow-up piece next week with my takes on some of the major things announced between now and then. Go have a great day!

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