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E3's virtual conference hall will have leaderboards and avatars

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 E3 might be ditching the live show format for an online show this year. But the ESA is trying its hardest to replicate that experience with a portal featuring virtual booths, conference presentations, online forums and... leaderboards?

In a press release, the ESA detailed exactly how this year's online E3 portal and app will work. Naturally there'll be online streams in place of the usual bombastic showcases (now featuring viewer polls and tweet highlights), along with hosted streams and virtual booths for all the games on show (featuring VODS, announcements and more information on each title). 

But the portal also wants to capture the social side of E3. And while it can't replicate being trapped in a crowded hall full of coffee-infused PR reps and exhausted journalists, E3's online hall will feature virtual lounges to hang out at. Bizarrely, there'll also be leaderboards for being the most social, with "gamified show elements that can be collected and displayed,

encouraging fans to interact in as many ways as possible".

You'll also be able to customise your own avatar to hang out in these social spaces. Now, I'm not expecting something so grand as a Second Life-style virtual convention—I imagine this'll just be to highlight you on the show's forums and social spaces. But hey, if Haunted PS1 (opens in new tab) and Crows Crows Crows (opens in new tab) can create fake game conventions, why not the real thing?

Registration for the online portal is free, and will open before the end of the month. Of course, that's assuming you trust E3 to keep your details secure, after the show's organisers leaked the personal information of over 2,000 attendees (opens in new tab) in 2019.

Of course, all the big showcases will continue to be streamed on Twitch, YouTube and E3's social channels as usual. This year's E3 will take place June 12th through 15th, and we've got the full schedule of what to expect at this year's expo (opens in new tab).

Natalie Clayton
Natalie Clayton

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.