Summer Game Fest to replace E3 as 2020's marquee gaming event

Summer Game Fest
(Image credit: Summer Game Fest)

Times are weird. Nearly every technology and video game convention has been cancelled this year, and even the most stalwart of industry staples – E3 2020 – was postponed in response to the coronavirus epidemic. 

But in its absence, The Game Awards host Geoff Keighley has created an event to unite the industry called Summer Game Fest.  This online season of events will bring together 16 of the industry’s largest publishers from Microsoft and Sony to Activision, Valve, Bethesda and Blizzard in a four-month cavalcade of news, trailers and game demos.

From May until August, the Summer Game Fest will partner with these publishers to release updates on current game projects and announce new titles across social media platforms. 

According to the organizers, programming that is a part of Summer Game Fest will be distributed across all major streaming platforms, including Facebook, Mixer, Twitch, Twitter, YouTube and more and corresponding game demos (some in alpha or beta stages of development) will be made available on major game distribution services like Steam, the PlayStation Store and Xbox Marketplace.

(Image credit: Summer Game Fest)

Wait, where's Nintendo?

Looking at the lineup for Phase 1 of Summer Game Fest, you'll notice one popular platform and publisher missing from the list: Nintendo.

Yesterday VentureBeat broke the story that Nintendo likely won't have a Nintendo Direct this June at the time of its regularly scheduled E3 keynote and unfortunately it doesn't appear to be joining Summer Game Fest, either. 

The company's absence was raised to Keighley on Reddit during an AMA and his response was simply "Nintendo is always welcome!" and in another questions saying that "Each publisher will decide to share news when they can -- and note that we aren't saying everyone on that list has a 'conference' per se, each publisher will likely have different approaches this year to how they communicate news."

That format seems to allow for a lot of flexibility and the Phase 1 notation the event used to announce its first round of partners would allow companies like Nintendo and Epic to join later should their schedules and work flows allow for it. 

Summer Game Fest has yet to announce its first event, but those looking for salivating game trailers won't have to wait long – we'll get our first look at Xbox Series X gameplay during a digital Xbox event next week.

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.