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It’s official: E3 2020 is cancelled (updated, again)

The ESA has cancelled E3 2020 following growing concerns around the spread Coronavirus COVID-19.

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E3 2020 registration details revealed
Entertainment Software Association

The ESA has cancelled E3 2020 following growing concerns around the spread Coronavirus COVID-19.

COVID-19 + concerns = another event cancellation. This time it’s E3 2020.

Following a day of rumours, speculation, and whacky reporting, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has confirmed the cancellation of this year’s E3 expo. The event itself was due to be held in Los Angeles from June 9-11, with a series press conferences traditionally held in the days before its doors open.

In a statement, the ESA says:

“Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters.  But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.”

The ESA will contact all exhibitors and attendees with information on obtaining full refunds. It’s also hoped that publishers due to exhibit at the event will coordinate to present an online showcase of press conferences in June.

The cancellation of E3 2020 is the latest in a series of events affected by the spread of COVID-19. The Game Developers Conference was the first high-profile casualty. It will instead live-stream a range of talks and panels next week, as will Microsoft. Other game-related events to be called off include Japan’s BitSummit, SXSW, Emerald City Comic Con, and Game Connection 2020.

E3 2020 already appeared to be in some trouble with its new influencer-focussed format raising eyebrows and turning stomachs. The departures of high-profile content producers Geoff Keighley and iam8bit were also worrying signs.

The ESA concludes its statement by saying that E3 will be back in 2021:

“We thank everyone who shared their views on reimagining E3 this year. We look forward to bringing you E3 2021 as a reimagined event that brings fans, media, and the industry together in a showcase that celebrates the global video game industry.”

Update: March 11, 16:40 GMT

Both Microsoft and Ubisoft have announced plans for digital events in the absence of E3 2020. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer says more details will be revealed next week. Ubisoft has also tweeted, saying the company is ‘exploring options for a digital experience.’

Update: March 12, 19:30 GMT

The official E3 Twitter account has just posted to say that its team members will be in contact with attendees to process refunds on passes.

“E3 team members are contacting registered attendees to process full refunds in the next few days,” the statement reads. “Thank you for your support and understanding. If you have any questions, please email [email protected]


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Thumbsticks editor and connoisseur of Belgian buns. Currently playing: Dragon Quest XI, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Transistor.

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Play three cool games for free on Xbox One this weekend

This week’s lineup of Xbox One Free Play Days titles takes players to the high seas, a world destroyed by war, and a creature-infested Louisiana.

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Sea of Thieves - Xbox One

This week’s lineup of Xbox One Free Play Days titles takes players to the high seas, a world destroyed by war, and, erm, Louisiana.

Shiver me timbers, Sea of Thieves is free to play on Xbox One this weekend. Rare’s online pirate adventure was somewhat cooly received on release, but who’s cool now? A treasure chest of content and gameplay updates has helped build a thriving community of shipmates, most of whom are welcoming to new deckhands. Nonetheless, take care, there’s always someone waiting to steal a Bilge Rat Doubloon or two when your back is turned.

Players should also keep their wits about them in Hunt: Showdown, the popular PvP first-person hunting game from Crytek. Up to 12 players must venture into the dangerous swamps of Louisiana. Your task is to retrieve a bounty from a vicious creature, but once you have that bounty, friends become foes, and you become the target. Hi-jinks ensue.

Finally, Warhammer: Chaosbane is moderately fun hack-and-slash action RPG from EKO Software. If the phrase “fighting battles in the sewers of Nuln” gets your blood pumping, this game is probably for you.

All three games are playable for free until midnight on Sunday for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members. As always, any earned achievements and save states carry over into purchased copies of each game. Here’s the lowdown on this week’s related digital discounts.

Xbox One Free Play Days Discounts

Hunt: Showdown

  • Standard Edition – 60% off
  • Master Hunter Edition – 50% off

Warhammer: Chaosbane

  • Standard Edition – 65% off
  • Deluxe Edition – 65% off
  • Magnus Edition – 70% off

Sea of Thieves

  • Standard Edition – 50% off

Bookmark our sales and freebies pages for the latest video game promotions. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter for daily gaming news updates

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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Surprise! The Long Dark is out now on Nintendo Switch

Another Nintendo Direct, another raft of surprise Nintendo Switch releases. One of today’s picks is The Long Dark.

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The Long Dark Nintendo Switch
Hinterland / Thumbsticks

Another Nintendo Direct, another raft of surprise Nintendo Switch releases. One of today’s picks is The Long Dark.

Nintendo has developed a habit of doing the old “and it’s available on the eShop right now” trick during its Direct presentations. In a summer of interminable video press conferences and wall-to-wall Geoff Keighley and 15-minute trailers for games we won’t see again for a couple of years, it’s a lovely little trait, an instant dopamine hit.

And Nintendo used it again, a few times, during its September 2020 Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase. There were games we knew were coming at some point, like Hades, and games we didn’t, like Ori and the Will of the Wisps. But they were still a nice surprise.

Then there was The Long Dark, the brilliant, wintry survival epic from Hinterland Games. That, too, got a surprise launch on the Nintendo Switch today. This is a lovely turn of events for a couple of reasons:

  1. The Long Dark is really rather good.
  2. The last we heard, the game’s performance on Switch was quite poor, so it’s excellent that it’s now in a state good enough to release.

There’s also an excellent launch trailer to mark the occasion:

Meanwhile, Hinterland head honcho and The Long Dark director Raph van Lierop took to Twitter to address some players’ confusion that, uncharacteristically, the trailer wasn’t particularly bleak.

We’re looking to heading out into the wilderness and playing The Long Dark later this year. You know, when it gets really cold.


Check out everything else announced in this month’s Nintendo Direct, or follow Thumbsticks on FlipboardFacebookGoogle News, and Twitter.

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Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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Prepare for Watch Dogs: Legion with this Epic freebie

Watch Dogs: Legion is out in a month, which means you have just enough time to play through its fantastic predecessor.

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Watch Dogs 2 - Marcus Holloway
Ubisoft

Watch Dogs: Legion is out in a month, which means you have just enough time to play through its fantastic predecessor.

In Ubisoft’s upcoming open-world game Watch Dogs: Legion, you can play as anyone. In this week’s Epic Games Store freebie, Watch Dogs 2, you play as a very specific person who I like an awful lot. Marcus Holloway, the game’s protagonist, is a genuinely likable, cool, chill dude. He’s also one of the few Black leads in video games.

The game around Marcus is also very cool. Set in modern day San Francisco, Watch Dogs 2 is a slice of sunshine-y fun that hands you a tonne of cool hacker superpowers. If you want to know more, I wrote about it as one of the best (and least realistic) hacking video games on the market here.

The Other Freebies

Also free: Football Manager 2020. This one ain’t for Yanks, like me; it’s about the other kind of football. From my experience playing the sport as a 10-year-old, managing a football team mostly involves keeping the team stocked with Capri Suns and helping them choose a cool name. Our uniforms were blue and white and we called ourselves the Blizzards. Very cool stuff. The beautiful game, indeed.

And, the final freebie is an indie platformer called Stick It to the Man, which has a cool pop-up book aesthetic. Worth a look for the low, low price of free.

And, here’s your friendly reminder that all five episodes of 3 Out of 10 are still free. I’ve played the first two episodes of the “interactive sitcom” about life at the world’s worst game developer and I’m becoming increasingly invested in the story. The minigames have a surprisingly good hit-to-miss ratio, as well.

All of this is free until next Thursday when Roller Coaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition will be up for grabs.


Follow Thumbsticks on FlipboardFacebookGoogle News, and Twitter for the latest video game news.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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The future of VR is wireless as Facebook goes all in on the Oculus Quest 2

With specifics for the Oculus Quest 2 finally here, it’s also been revealed that the PC-only Oculus Rift headsets will be discontinued in 2021.

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Oculus Quest 2
Facebook / Oculus

RIP Oculus Rift.

With specifics for the Oculus Quest 2 finally here, it’s also been revealed that the PC-only Oculus Rift headsets will be discontinued in 2021. Sales of the original Quest will also cease. It’s another clarifying move in Facebook’s vision for the future of VR. It comes alongside the recent announcement that a Facebook account will be required to use any Oculus headset by 2023. Indeed, a Facebook account is required to use the Quest 2.

Facebook has reassured users that they will continue to support PC VR via Quest and Oculus Link. The Rift platform of PC software certainly isn’t facing a shut down any time soon.

That said, Facebook seems to be betting big on wireless, mobile experiences being the key to VR reaching mass audience appeal. Whilst the Quest 2 does fold both the wireless and PC-fidelity VR worlds into one headset with a fibre-optic Oculus Link cable – available to preorder separately – it’s telling that this cable isn’t included with the headset itself.

Other USB-C cables should be capable of the PC tethering too via Oculus Link but might provide an inferior performance. Either way, Quest 2 users will be able to access games on the Rift platform that haven’t been adapted especially for its wireless capabilities. These include highly-acclaimed releases like Asgard’s Wrath, The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners, and Lone Echo. It seems a shame this is slightly deemphasised.

The Quest 2 is launching on October 10 and undercuts the original Quest significantly with a price tag of £299. Despite this, it boasts better specs all-round: a higher resolution of 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye, higher refresh rate support of  72 Hz (and 90 Hz promised via software update), a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor, and 6 GB RAM. Other features like controller-less navigation bring back Kinect memories.

It’s a major shift towards affordable VR and many early reviews signal very positive impressions. Equally, not everyone is sold on the new VR system.


Follow Thumbsticks on FlipboardFacebookGoogle News, and Twitter for the latest video game news.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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Everything announced in today’s Nintendo Direct showcase

Today’s Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase revealed a crop of new titles heading to the Nintendo Switch.

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September Nintendo Direct Partner Showcase
Nintendo / Thumbsticks

Today’s Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase revealed a crop of new titles heading to the Nintendo Switch, including a brand new Monster Hunter game from Capcom.

The fifteen-minute presentation was short on ceremony but packed with details on upcoming Nintendo Switch games from third-parties.

Opening the Direct was Monster Hunter Rise, a new Switch-exclusive entry in Capcom’s long-running action RPG series. Other highlights included a new trailer for Empire of Sin and a surprise Switch release for Ori and the Will of the Wisps.

Here’s a quick roundup of everything announced on today’s stream. Nintendo has also confirmed that another Partner Showcase will be broadcast later this year.

Monster Hunter Rise

Capcom kicked off the Direct with a first look at a new Switch-exclusive entry in the Monster Hunter franchise. Rather than following in the footsteps of Monster Hunter World, it takes its lead from earlier numbered entries in the series. The game looks impressive nonetheless and is due for release on March 26, 2021.

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin

More from Capcom. This time it’s a sequel to the excellent Pokémon-like RPG that debuted on the Nintendo 3DS in 2016. It’s due next summer.

Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise

Imagineer’s sequel to the fantastic Fitness Boxing includes new workout regimes, dance moves, and more visual pizazz. It probably won’t trouble Ring Fit Adventure but if it builds on the first game, it will be worth a look for gamers with a few extra pounds to shed, ahem. Enter the ring on December 4, 2020.

Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny

The latest game in the cult tactical RPG series will arrive on Nintendo Switch in Summer 2021. In the meantime, Disgaea 5 is getting a limited-time free trial for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers beginning on September 23.

Empire of Sin

A new trailer for Romero Games Prohibition-era strategy game. Pop open a bottle to celebrate its release on December 1.

Sniper Elite 4

Rebellion’s acclaimed Italian vacation simulator arrives on Nintendo Switch this holiday season.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Surprise! Moon Studios’ sumptuous exploratory platformer is out today on Switch. A lovely looking collector’s edition – which includes both games in the series – is also being released by iam8bit.

Other announcements

Also confirmed in today broadcast were release windows for Rune Factory 5 and Square Enix’s Balan Wonderworld. Set an alarm for sometime in 2021. Coming sooner is Hinterland Studio’s stunning survival game, The Long Dark, and Supergiant’s Greek mythology-inspired roguelike, Hades. They’re out today in fact.

Watch the Nintendo Direct Mini again, right here.

And for more on Monster Hunter, here’s a special Direct broadcast from Capcom.

Follow Thumbsticks on FlipboardFacebookGoogle News, and Twitter for the latest video game news.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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