Summer Game Fest 2023: How to watch and what to expect

Some major publishers will be at the event, but not all of them.

Summer Game Fest

E3 is canceled this year due to both the pandemic’s effects on development schedules and the success of events elsewhere in the year, like The Game Awards. As such, expectations are higher than ever for Summer Game Fest (SGF). It’s now the biggest mid-year opportunity for developers to reveal new games and hype up their upcoming releases. At the same time, you might not see absolutely everyone. Don’t worry if it’s all a bit overwhelming — we’ll let you know how to watch, and what you’ll likely see when Geoff Keighley and partner studios take to the stage.

Who’s coming to Summer Game Fest

Most major game developers will attend Summer Game Fest in some capacity. Former E3 mainstays Activision, EA, Microsoft, Sony and Ubisoft will be there. You can also expect well-known studios and technology companies like Amazon Games, Bandai Namco, CD Projekt Red, Capcom, Epic Games, Gearbox, Netflix, Razer, Samsung and Valve.

Keighley’s team hasn’t shared many specifics of what to expect, but there have been a couple of clues.You should see the first gameplay footage from the fighting series reboot Mortal Kombat 1, while Remedy should show more of its action horror sequel Alan Wake II. We also wouldn’t be surprised if CD Projekt Red showed more of its Cyberpunk 2077 add-on Phantom Liberty given promises of news this month.

Don’t expect a dedicated PlayStation event at SGF. Sony held a Showcase livestream on May 24th that showcased much of what the company and its partners are working on, including the Project Q handheld streaming device and Konami’s Metal Gear Solid 3 remake. Nintendo also isn’t poised to appear, and might instead hold a Direct presentation. That’s not surprising when The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is already out, and the only big first-party game in the pipeline is Pikmin 4 this July.

The Summer Game Fest schedule and how to watch

Cockpit in 'Starfield'

The tentpole event is Summer Game Fest Live on June 8th at 3PM Eastern. You can watch this through the presenters’ many social channels, including YouTube, Twitch, Twitter and TikTok. This is billed as a “cross-industry showcase,” and will likely include announcements from a wide variety of publishers. This will likely include some creators that have their own events later, such as Microsoft.

The first company-specific events follow almost immediately afterward. Double Fine and iam8bit are holding their customary “Day of the Devs” indie game presentation at 5PM Eastern on the 8th. Devolver, meanwhile, is streaming its announcements at 6PM. Its show is sometimes a treat even if you don’t care for the games — Devolver is fond of telling a wacky story alongside its announcements.

Each subsequent day has at least one event. The Tribeca Festival is showing exclusive gameplay clips and interviews from its official selections on June 9th at 3PM Eastern. On June 10th, you can tune into a Wholesome Direct at 12PM that puts the spotlight on indie games.

For many, June 11th will be the highlight. Microsoft is hosting an Xbox Games Showcase at 1PM Eastern where it will likely discuss titles from its in-house studios. As soon as that’s done, a Starfield Direct will show more of Bethesda’s sci-fi epic. PC Gamer’s The PC Gaming Show follows at 4PM with two hours of introductions that include over 15 new games.

And while it’s not technically part of Summer Game Fest, Ubisoft Forward is scheduled for June 12th starting at 1PM Eastern. You’ll have to watch on Ubisoft’s YouTube and Twitch channels, but you can expect updates on Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, The Crew Motorfest and other upcoming releases.

The last Summer Game Fest event was only announced this week: Capcom will host a brief stream on June 12th starting at 6PM Eastern. The 38-minute event will feature “roughly 36 minutes of news and updates” on the company’s latest games.

You’ll also want to stay tuned to Engadget throughout the event. While Summer Game Fest isn’t an E3-style trade show, we’ll be on the ground with news, analysis and hands-on impressions. We’ll let you know what games are promising and pinpoint the trends from this year’s lineup.

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