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Play Life, Live Games column: E3 replacement starting to take shape

Dusty Ricketts
dricketts@thedestinlog.com
The Destin Log

When this year’s E3 conference was canceled in March because of the ongoing threat of the coronavirus, it was assumed that some kind of digital event would take its spot.

After all, game publishers need a visible way to show off their upcoming titles to the widest possible audience.

It’s taken a little longer than I expected, but this year’s replacement for E3 is starting to come into focus.

Geoff Keighley, the host and producer of the annual Game Awards show, has announced plans for the Summer Game Fest. While E3 usually stacked news conference after news conference over a four-day period, Summer Game Fest will stretch its events out over a four-month period.

Thursday’s State of Play with a 10-minute look at the feudal Japan-set “Ghost of Tsushima” is currently the only event scheduled for this month.

The current highlight for next month is EA Play scheduled for June 11 where EA will show off its upcoming slate of games. All of EA’s Twitter accounts have been hyping this event, including the EA Star Wars account. Hopefully that means we’ll get our first looks at either Project Maverick or the “Jedi: Fallen Order” sequel if not both of them.

The biggest event in July so far is Ubisoft Forward, where we’ll probably get our first look at gameplay for the recently announced “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla,” which is coming to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X later this year.

Plus Microsoft and Sony will both likely have digital events showing off their launch lineups for the upcoming new gaming consoles that could be added to the Summer Game Fest lineup.

The week of E3 is always one of my favorite weeks of the year. I have scheduled vacation time around being able to sit at home and watch the different news conferences and see what games I’ll be playing in the coming months and sometimes years.

While I’ll miss that, I really think the Summer Game Fest format is much better for the game studios. With E3, there are so many new games getting announced so close to one another that it’s easy for even big titles to be quickly overshadowed. With Summer Game Fest being much more spread out, studios and their games can stay in the spotlight longer than they would at E3.

Dusty Ricketts is the editor of The Destin Log and The Walton Sun newspapers and can be reached at dricketts@thedestinlog.com.