Electronic Arts is once again planning to hold its own fan gathering outside of one of the industry’s biggest events. When the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) trade show kicks off in June, gamers can hop over to Hollywood to check out EA Play for themselves.
The EA Play event begins Friday, June 7, and it runs through Sunday, June 9. The company is reserving Friday for its announcements, and then it will invite fans to come play its games on Saturday and Sunday.
For those announcements, however, EA is not going to hold an E3-style media presentation. Instead, it is hosting a series of livestreams to go in depth on its products.
“This year you’ll see less talk and more play, with an event entirely focused on the heartbeat of EA Play: our player communities and the games they love,” reads an EA blog post. “We’re skipping the press conference this year and are replacing it with multiple live streams that will air during the first two days of the event, bringing you more of what you’ve told us you want: more gameplay and insights from the teams making the games.”
An E3 media presentation is difficult
Electronic Arts was among the first of the major publishers to pull out of the official E3. The company got rid of its booth in 2016. At that time, it began inviting media and fans to its own events in Hollywood.
For E3 2019, Sony is not planning to bring PlayStation in any form.
Publishers and platform holders are making this move because planning an E3 show and hosting a booth is expensive. But on top of that, fans also have extremely high expectations for announcements. If Sony or EA don’t have one surprise after another in their media presentations, many will come out of it disappointed — and they’ll be loud about it.
So instead, Sony is abstaining. And EA is taking a cue from Nintendo. For the last several years, Nintendo has spent most of E3 livestreaming from its booth. These Nintendo Treehouse broadcasts spend half and hour-to-60 minutes detailing one game at a time.
That format gives fans a chance to learn a lot about the specific games that they’re interested in.
A rebuilding year
The final factor here is that Electronic Arts may not have a lot of new games to talk about.
It just launched BioWare’s Anthem, Respawn’s Apex Legends, and DICE’s Battlefield V over the last six months. And by June, Respawn will have shown off Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order at the Star Wars Celebration fan event in April. It’s also unlikely that DICE will have another game ready for this fall. The studio is not going to launch a Star Wars Battlefront to compete against Jedi: Fallen Order, for example.
That means that EA is probably going to spend most of its Play event talking about updates to Anthem, Apex Legends, and Battlefield V. And then it will have some new info on the known quantities like Jedi: Fallen Order and its EA Sports releases.
But don’t expect anything about Dragon Age 4. That game is still in its earliest phases of production. I wouldn’t expect to see it for around three years. And BioWare is still going to have its hands full with Anthem this summer.
EA certainly has other projects in the works, but this probably isn’t the time to show them. Next-gen hardware speculation is running wild. And it is probably trying to figure out how to position all of its in-development games with relation to a potential PlayStation 5 or Xbox 4.