E3 2021 schedule – and every game industry event confirmed for 2021

The summer game announcement schedule isn't quite as messy as last year, but there's still a lot to keep track of

Both E3 and not-E3 are approaching fast, and while it’s not quite as big of a mess as it was last year, there’s still a heck of a lot of individual events to keep track of. Not everything has a specific date just yet, but enough events have been announced that we can start to get a picture of what to expect from this summer’s lineup of game announcements.

Don’t expect 2021 to quite return us to the single-week E3 of old, but there’s been a concentrated effort among the folks hosting this year’s summer game announcements to condense things into a tighter – and hopefully more exciting – block of events, mostly happening in June. But there are some other notable happenings in the months before and after.

All the listings you’ll see below have been officially confirmed, but it’s worth noting that there are some pretty likely other events over the next few months. We know that more news on Battlefield 6 is coming ahead of its release later this year, and industry insider Jeff Grubb suggests we’ll see some sort of reveal event in May or June. The Battlefield social media accounts look to be teasing that June date, too.

Here’s the full list of events announced so far:

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May 20 – NetEase Connect 2021

NetEase Games is one of the big players in China’s massive game industry, and its annual NetEase Connect showcase will be broadcast in English for the first time this year. You’ll be able to catch the show on YouTube at 4:30am PDT / 7:30am EDT / 12:30pm BST. Confirmed titles for the show include Naraka: Bladepoint, which had a massive open beta on Steam earlier this year, alongside 12 other games for PC, consoles, and mobile.

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May 20 – Overwatch 2 PvP livestream

While the Overwatch 2 release date still appears to be some distance away, Blizzard does have more to show soon. The devs will be hosting a livestream focused on PvP. The stream will showcase new maps, and will feature discussion of the “philosophy behind changes coming to Overwatch 2’s PvP”. The devs will follow up with a Reddit AmA on May 24, and there will be more info later in the year, too.

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May 26 – Dragon Quest 35th anniversary stream

The Dragon Quest 35th anniversary stream will take place on Wednesday, May 26 at 8:30pm PDT / 11:30pm EDT, or Thursday, May 27 at 4:30am BST. It will show off the “upcoming line-up” for the series, and it’s a safe bet that’ll include the proper Dragon Quest 12 announcement. Series creator Yuji Horii will be there, and don’t worry – there will be live English translations, too.

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June 5 – Indie Live Expo

Indie Live Expo broadcasts on Saturday, June 5 at 2am PDT / 5am EDT / 10am BST. This will be the third annual run of this show – an event predominantly focused on indie games in the Asian market. Previous broadcasts have featured creators like Swery and Toby Fox, and while you probably shouldn’t expect massive news here, you can look forward to highlights from some very cool indie games.

June 5 – Guerrilla Collective 2 day one

Guerrilla Collective is back for a double round of showcases featuring major indies a mid-sized publishers. Over 80 games will be at the the two shows, and the announced partners include 2Awesome Studio, 505 Games, Akupara Games, All in! Games, Goblinz Studio, Fellow Traveller, Good Shepherd, Graffiti Games, Humble Games, Headup, Hypetrain Digital, Innersloth, tinyBuild, the newly rebranded Neon Doctrine (formerly Another Indie), Perfect World, Raw Fury, Superhot, Thunderful, Versus Evil, and Whitethorn Games.

The first showcase will take place on Saturday, June 5 at 8am PDT / 11am EDT / 4pm BST on Twitch. It will be followed by the return of the Black Voices in Gaming segment at 10am PDT / 1pm EDT / 6pm BST, which will highlight both Black creators and Black characters in the gaming world.

JUNE 12 – GUERILLA COLLECTIVE 2 DAY Two

The second Guerrilla Collective Showcase will take place on Saturday, June 12 at 8am PDT / 11am EDT / 4pm BST, once again on Twitch. It will be followed by the next Wholesome Direct at 10am PDT / 1pm EDT / 6pm BST, which will show off 75 adorable games for you to chill out with.

June 12 through 15 – E3 2021

E3 is a digital event running from Saturday, June 12 through Tuesday, June 15. It will feature both press conferences and a video stream running through all four days of the event.

The show’s digital experience, which will exist in both app and “online portal” form alongside all the more traditional daily streams, will let you explore a number of virtual exhibitor booths for events, video content, and articles from each publisher. I think this basically means that each participating publisher will just have its own spot on the E3 website and app, but hey, maybe there’s gonna be a VR E3 show floor or something. (There won’t be.) There will also be a number of forums and online lounges if you want to join strangers on the internet in pretending to be at E3.

If I can editorialise here for a minute, I’m pretty sure the ESA is just saying that there will be a fancy website for E3. All these things are literally just describing a website.

Nintendo, Xbox, Ubisoft, Take Two (parent company of 2K and Rockstar), Capcom, Warner Bros, and Koch Media were all announced as the first wave of partners for E3 2021, and Focus Home Interactive plans to announce “three major titles” at E3, ahead of a larger reveal at The Game Awards in December.

Square Enix, Sega, Bandai Namco, Gearbox, XSEED, Verizon, Freedom Games, Devious Eye Entertainment, Turtle Beach, and Binge.com have all joined E3 as a second wave of announced partners. The Bandai Namco name will likely be the most notable one in the list, for a certain segment of news-hungry fans, as this company is the publisher of Elden Ring. Bandai Namco’s E3 presence was revealed early ahead of today’s announcement, and the robust Elden Ring fandom is already going wild, in its usual way.

A number of media outlets, including Polygon, IGN, GameSpot, GamesRadar, and PC Gamer, will also be working with E3 on various types of content. So far, only three specific shows have been confirmed from E3’s partners: Ubisoft Forward, the PC Gaming Show, and the Future Games Show.

June 12 – Ubisoft Forward

Ubisoft’s usual E3 showcase will take place on Saturday, June 12 at 12pm PDT / 3pm EDT / 8pm BST. There are no details yet on what will be announced at the show, but it’s safe to expect updates on Far Cry 6, and whatever the new name of Rainbow Six Quarantine will be. The real question is whether we’ll get news on titles that have been MIA for ages, like Beyond Good & Evil 2 and Skull & Bones.

June 13 – The PC Gaming Show

The PC Gaming Show returns on June 13, and will provide news on – you guessed it – PC games. The fine folks over at PC Gamer have made this presentation a pretty exciting one for PC nerds over the years, and while we don’t yet know anything specific to event this year, last year’s event featured everything from the debut of eventual mega-hit Valheim to the surprise release announcement of Persona 4 Golden on Steam.

June 13 – The Future Games Show

The Future Games Show is hosted by GamesRadar, and it essentially serves as a sister broadcast to the PC Gaming Show – but one which includes announcements for games on console and mobile, in addition to PC. There’s generally a solid blend of indie and triple-A stuff at the Future Games Show, and last year’s E3 broadcast included news for games like Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One, Ghostrunner, and Kena: Bridge of Spirits.

June 16 through June 22 – Steam Next Fest

Steam Next Fest is the rebranded version of the Steam Game Festival, and it’ll be pretty similar in focus. There’ll be a pile of developer livestreams and “hundreds” of free game demos to enjoy throughout the six-day event.

June – Summer Game Fest

Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest took the reins when E3 disappeared in 2020, and it’ll still be with us in 2021. Details on the event are currently thin, but it will run in June, last less than a month, and will feature a series of livestreams – some hosted by Keighley, some run through Day of the Devs, and still others hosted by various publishers and platform-holders. There will also be some sort of “playable content” as part of SGF.

July 17 – TennoCon 2021

The TennoCon 2021 date is set for Saturday, July 17, and as ever, the devs will use the event to reveal some of the big updates on the way to Warframe. The (all-digital) fan festival will also feature a load of community focused events, and there’ll be options to buy merch and in-game content while supporting the Unity Project for Relief of Homelessness.

JULY 22 – EA PLAY Live

Electronic Arts has announced that the 2021 edition of its own gaming showcase, EA Play Live, will be held on July 22 as a virtual event. While it’s not an official part of E3 as such, EA Play Live usually falls close by the ESA’s event, so it’s a bit of a surprise that it’ll instead come round over a month after E3 this year. There’s no news on what we can expect to see at the show yet, but we do have a nice ‘save the date’ tweet from EA instead.

August 24 – Gamescom 2021 Opening Night Live

We’re really stretching the idea of ‘E3’ here, but that’s been the way for several years now. European games show Gamescom has established its Geoff Keighley-hosted Opening Night Live event as a major part of the game news palooza every year, and while we don’t yet know anything specific that’ll be at the show this year, it’s a safe bet there’ll be enough major news and announcements to make this worth watching.

August 25 through August 29 – Gamescom 2021

After Opening Night Live, we have Gamescom itself. Contrary to earlier plans, the event’s organisers have confirmed that the conference will be digital-only this year. It remains to be seen how everything will be showcased here, but the show will now be free to access for all attendees.

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October 16 – DC Fandome

It remains to be seen whether this will be a gaming event at all, but since last year’s DC FanDome featured early reveals for both Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League and Gotham Knights, it’s safe to expect updates on both games here ahead of their planned launches in 2022. The wildcard is the next game from NetherRealm Studios – based on the studio’s usual release cadence, that would be Injustice 3, and a big DC event would be the perfect place to unveil another superheroic fighting game.

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