E3 2021 app and online portal revealed—here’s how the all-digital event will work

E3 2021
(Image credit: ESA)

E3 2021 is just under a month away and its organizers have now revealed the app and online portal that will allow gaming fans to attend, and participate in, the entirely digital event. 

Calling the online portal and app a “key hub” for the show, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has confirmed they'll provide access to “virtual ‘booths,’ hosted events, video conferencing, profile and avatar creation, online forums and more.”

The virtual booths will be "hubs within the portal" where fans will be able to access "key announcements and game information tied to each exhibitor”, as well as videos, written articles and special events.  

The portal and app will also provide access to the main E3 live broadcast. Hosted by Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez, Jacki Jing and Greg Miller, it’ll feature “major publisher showcases, press conferences, industry panels, extended livestreams and special guest appearances”. 

To encourage viewers to engage with the show, there’ll be interactive overlays on the broadcast, showing viewer polls, featured tweets and other elements. Adding to this, there’ll be chat room and forum elements for discussion. Each attendee will have a customizable profile and avatar, getting the chance to appear on leaderboards that track interaction with the show’s gamified elements.

“From the moment we decided to host E3 virtually, we’ve been focused on providing an interactive experience for fans around the globe that goes beyond the typical livestream,” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, President & CEO of the ESA. “The result is a bespoke online portal and app that will allow fans, media and industry professionals to have an E3 experience designed to run parallel to the four-day broadcast, laying the foundation for interactive E3 elements to continue beyond this year’s all-virtual show.”

It’s worth noting, if you just want your more traditional E3-at-home experience without the virtual bells and whistles, that the main broadcast of the show will also be viewable via the E3 channel on platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter

The public will be able to access the portal on June 12, the start date of E3, but it’ll be possible to set up a free account from later this month (an exact date is yet to be confirmed) so that you’re ready to go. 

A big summer for games

E3 2021 is set to take place between June 12 and June 15 and we’re expecting announcements from some of big names such as Microsoft, Nintendo, Square Enix and Ubisoft, all of whom are on list of attendees. So far, only Ubisoft has confirmed an exact date for its press conference, Ubisoft Forward, which is to take place on June 12 at12 pm PT / 8pm BST / 3pm ET (or June 13 at 5am AEST).

A notable absence this year is Sony, which has confirmed it isn’t planning to present at the show. So, while we’ll still see new PS5 games from other publishers, if you’re looking for any exciting first-party PS5 news you may need to wait a little longer. 

It’s expected to be a busy summer for gaming events. Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest is also set to kick off in June, as is Steam Next Fest. EA has confirmed it’ll be holding its traditional EA Play event, this year on the slightly later date of July 22 and, hot on the heels of that, Gamescom 2021 will be taking place in August. 

Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.