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What to expect at E3 2020

E3 2020 may still be a few months away, but the chatter around this year’s biggest gaming show is already starting. With Sony deciding to duck out of the show for the second year running, and two next-gen consoles set to launch not long after, there’s plenty of change a-foot – and E3 is at the heart of it.

Why is E3 2020 so important? As a place where the likes of Microsoft and Nintendo – both of whom will be in attendance this year – tend to announce new hardware and titles, alongside countless third-party publishers showing off their wares to the fans, players, and media gathered for the event, E3 tends to hold some massive announcements that shape the conversation around the year’s games for many months after.

There’s little confirmed for the show floor this year, though we’ve brought together the announcements that the biggest names in gaming have made already, and what you can expect to see at E3 2020.

Ok, but what exactly is E3?

The E3 name stands for ‘Electronic Entertainment Expo’, and it’s been running in some form since 1995. Hosted by the Entertainment Software Association, E3 is a three-day convention to celebrate and showcase all things gaming, usually to publicize upcoming games and consoles – with a smattering of panel discussions and keynotes alongside the excitement of the show floor. E3 2020 will be the 26th time the event has happened.

While traditionally only an industry-only event, the ESA has been more willing to allow members of the public into the event and is increasing the number of available public tickets from 15,000 (in 2019) to 25,000. There’s also been chatter about an extra day exclusive to industry members, to minimize disruption and queuing times, but that’s yet to be confirmed.

E3 dates: When is the expo?

The E3 expo lands every year in June, and will this year be running from June 9 (Tuesday) to June 11 (Thursday) at the Los Angeles Convention Center (E3’s home since 2009). 

It kicks off on a Tuesday, but the weekend beforehand will see the major console-makers and publishers hosting their own press conferences where the majority of announcements will take place.

Sony at E3 2020 – or not?

Sony didn’t make it to E3 2019, and it won’t be doing so in 2020 either. The makers of the PS5 seem content to showcase their wares at other events throughout the year – like the limp logo reveal at CES 2020 – rather than compete for attention at an event also hosting Xbox and Nintendo.

It’s clearly a different strategy to the PS4 console, which had its design formally unveiled at E3 back in 2013. Kotaku news editor Jason Schreier has suggested Sony’s doing this due to disagreements with the ESA, but for whatever reason, PlayStation won’t have a presence – beyond third-party devs and publishers working on PS4 and PS5 games.

Xbox at E3 2020

Don’t worry, though – Xbox will still be there. Phil Spencer was quick to reassure fans they wouldn’t be taking the same route as Sony, and you can expect to see a lot of the Xbox Series X at the event. It’s likely we’ll get more information on those rumored sibling consoles, Lockhart and Anaconda, possibly offering cheaper or disc-less alternatives to the mainline offering. (They’ll probably be called something boring, though.)

We expect to hear some new game announcements – particularly exclusives, which are being aggressively courted for the Xbox brand – and possibly more third-party studios brought under the Xbox umbrella wholesale. It’s likely we’ll get more gameplay footage of the upcoming Halo Infinite, and more information on its multiplayer and story, though a playable demo (sadly) may be a bit further off.

Their press conference was on a Sunday last year, making June 7 a likely date this time around.

Nintendo at E3 2020

What of Nintendo? The House of Mario will be jumping and chortling into E3 as usual, though it’s unclear whether there’ll be new hardware being shown off. There’s been chatter around a Nintendo Switch Pro for a while now, and E3 would be a sensible time to show it off – especially without Sony hogging the limelight.

We also got the first trailer for the Zelda BOTW sequel at E3 last year, so we’re hoping to get more of a formal unveiling, perhaps with a title and an idea of when the game is scheduled to release. Metroid Prime 4, too, only got the briefest of teasers last year, so a better understanding of what the game will actually look like, and when we’ll get to wear Samus’ suit again, it would be much appreciated.

We fully expect Super Smash Bros Ultimate to continue dominating Nintendo’s press channels, possibly with information on new DLC fighters to come down the line.

Nintendo doesn’t host a press conference anymore, but it usually releases a video presentation on a Tuesday (June 9), right before the E3 show floor opens.

E3 2020 games: What’s coming up?

Outside of the big three, there’ll be plenty to keep those on the show floor, in the keynotes, or spectating from a distance occupied. 

In terms of upcoming games, there are a lot of titles with vague 2020 release dates, so it’s very possible we’ll see more footage, trailers, announcements, or release dates for the likes of Ubisoft’s Gods and Monsters, Little Nightmares 2, No More Heroes III, Bayonetta 3, Super Meat Boy Forever, Everwild, and Hollow Knight: Silksong (which releases the day after E3, on June 12). 

Bethesda always has a decent showing, and will likely resume its Sunday (June 7) press conference, though what it will be showing post-Doom Eternal is anyone’s guess. The sci-fi RPG Starfield? Elder Scrolls VI? Given neither was shown off last year, either would be great this time around – both, if we’re incredibly lucky.

With Google Stadia – announced just before E3 last year – now available to play, too, we may well see a bigger presence from Google this time around. Maybe some more games aside from Destiny 2 to play?

This is what all you should expect at E3 on Tuesday, June 9 which you can watch live on YouTube.

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