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E3 2019: Video game industry readies for major annual showcase

The video game industry is preparing for its biggest event of the year in Los Angeles, California. The Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly known as E3, is the biggest showcase for video game software, hardware and new game tech innovations. This year promises to be different but no less impactful.

E3 officially runs from June 11 to 13, but for viewers at home, most of the excitement comes in the preceding several days. Those events include a special presentation from Google, which is a new entrant to the video game space; it plans to share news regarding its upcoming Stadia cloud streaming service on Thursday, June 6. From there, the lineup consists of the public EA Play event from Electronic Arts over the weekend of June 8, followed by a spate of presentations from game publishers like Microsoft, Bethesda, Square Enix and Nintendo before the show floor opens on June 11. You can check out the full E3 2019 schedule if you'd like to watch live.

One major player in the games industry is missing this year, however. PlayStation 4 maker Sony announced late last year that it would be skipping the annual show in favor of its own events. PlayStation head Shawn Layden has indicated that the June event wasn't ideal for it to outline this year's plans. Layden also criticized the event as outdated.

"[Retailers and partners are] making purchasing discussions in February. June, now, is just too late to have a Christmas holiday discussion with retailers," Layden said. "So retail has really dropped off. And journalists now, with the internet and the fact that 24/7 there is game news — it's lost its impact around that. So the trade show became a trade show without a lot of trade activity. The world has changed but E3 hasn't necessarily changed with it."

This is the latest in several large shifts to the annual show. EA, one of the world's largest publishers, now focuses on its EA Play show, which is held in Los Angeles in the days prior to E3, although it does still attend the expo. Recent years have also seen the Entertainment Software Association, which organizes E3, open the show floor to the public in a limited capacity.

Regardless, this promises to be a massive year for the industry. Microsoft has vowed to "go big" with more than a dozen game debuts from its first-party studios. The company has hinted that E3 will be where it further details its streaming solution, called xCloud, which will likely compete with Google's Stadia. Microsoft might also show off its next-generation Xbox console, as Sony has begun talking about its next PlayStation, the PS5.

Other publishers are also preparing big announcements and debuts of their own. Square Enix has promised to show off its long-anticipated game based on Marvel's Avengers franchise, for instance. Many of the show's announcements are leaked or rumored beforehand and those should all be confirmed or dispelled by the time E3 proper begins next week.

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Gaming fans play the game 'Fortnite' at the 24th Electronic Expo, or E3 2018 in Los Angeles, California on June 13, 2018, where hardware manufacturers, software developers and the video game industry present their new games between June 12-14. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images) Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty Images
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