Microsoft and Nintendo ready game announcements for moderate virtual E3

For players, the annual E3 video game showcase in Los Angeles, it’s usually like Christmas in the summer. While this year’s digital-only festivities will be much more low-key, the industry is preparing a slew of new releases aimed at capitalizing on a boom fueled by the pandemic.

Ubisoft Entertainment plans to present a new Far Cry game and reveal future content for the recent blockbuster Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Microsoft will showcase what’s in store for the Xbox console, including updates to Halo Infinite, and Nintendo will reveal upcoming titles on its Switch portable gaming device this year.

Fans will be on the lookout for “megatons” – unexpected and exciting news about the devices or games that will be the subject of the series.

Industry giants have spent months preparing for the event, producing trailers and demos designed to impact an audience expected to number in the millions.

Video games have been one of the pandemic’s meteoric successes as people crouched at home and spent hours of lockdown tending to their islands on Animal Crossing, ousting impostors in Among Us or surviving. to the zombie outbreak in The Last of Us Part II. Video game revenues climbed 20% in 2020 to nearly $ 180 billion, according to market intelligence firm IDC.

As the global economy begins to open up and people venture more off the couch, the big game companies will take the opportunity next week to ensure these pandemic habits prove difficult to break. They will face a higher bar in this unusual year. The global event, which drew more than 66,000 people in 2019, was canceled in 2020 during the Covid-19 outbreak and will only come back online this year from June 12 to 15.

All lectures will be pre-recorded, allowing game companies to avoid potentially embarrassing mistakes, but also sacrifice the energy of a live crowd and the loud applause that usually accompanies announcements at big name presentations. Fans and developers won’t be able to mingle, exchange ideas, or play new games. And, since some games have already been pushed back this year, like Sony’s God of War and Warner Bros. ‘ Hogwarts Legacy, publishers may be hesitant to show games that they know may not see the light of day until 2022 or beyond.

This year’s show “may be a little disappointing” compared to previous events, wrote Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Matthew Kanterman in a recent memo, but “it could still help solidify our view that the game can build on the disproportionate growth of 2020 and support the expansion of a larger user and spending base.

Ubisoft launches E3 this year on Saturday. The French publisher made headlines last year amid allegations of widespread sexual misconduct. Attendees will see if the company addresses the ongoing controversy during its presentation or decides to focus exclusively on upcoming games. In a sign of the effects of the pandemic, Ubisoft said on Monday it was changing the name of an upcoming game called Rainbow Six Quarantine to Rainbow Six Extraction.

Microsoft will hold its annual Xbox showcase on Sunday. The centerpiece will be Halo Infinite, which was originally slated to launch alongside the new Xbox Series X last November, but has been delayed indefinitely. Microsoft is also expected to provide updates on titles like the upcoming Psychonauts 2 on its Xbox Game Pass subscription service.

This will be Microsoft’s first showcase since purchasing ZeniMax Media, the parent company of video game publisher Bethesda Softworks, so gamer expectations are high. Microsoft is expected to detail Bethesda’s upcoming games, including the highly anticipated Starfield, a sci-fi role-playing game. The publisher plans to announce a specific release date for Starfield, which is slated for late 2022, according to people familiar with the announcement.

Nintendo will be in the spotlight on June 15. Fans expect to see new entries in shows like Metroid and The Legend of Zelda, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. The most anticipated game in Nintendo’s library is a sequel to 2017’s beloved The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which is set to hit the show. Nintendo also plans to release an upgraded version of the Switch this fall, Bloomberg reported, although the company has said its E3 showcase will focus primarily on software, so new hardware may not be present.

Other companies attending this year’s E3 include Square Enix Holdings, which will unveil a new game based on the Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy comic book franchise, and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., which will unveil a new game. derived in the Borderlands universe. Publishers such as Capcom Co. and Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc. will also be in attendance with new reveals.

Not all of the action will take place at E3 this year. Some major game companies are not attending E3, including Sony, Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard, although EA has said it is hosting its own show in July. And a rival show, called Summer games party and led by video game personality Geoff Keighley, kicks off Thursday. While Summer Games Fest isn’t as well-known as E3, Keighley has a reputation for planning events filled with game reveals and may have his own “megatons” that surprise and delight fans.

More stories like this are available at bloomberg.com

© 2021 Bloomberg LP

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