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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

By 2022, two years of online events will have proven that game developers have more options than ever to reach their audiences without ever leaving home.

The big picture: Gaming's biggest annual showcase, E3, returns as a digital experience in a month, but companies are steadily finding new ways to communicate directly with their audiences, without the need to center it on a flashy in-person show in the middle of June.

  • Two weeks ago, Konami announced that it would not be ready to present “due to timing” and would be withdrawing.
  • "We want to reassure our fans that we are in deep development on a number of key projects," the company said on Twitter, promising news in the coming months.
  • Sony will also skip E3, keeping with the pattern it established over the past few years.

Instead, we're in for a lot of livestreams, scattered across the entire summer:

  • E3 2021, June 12–15
  • Geoff Keighley's seasonal event, Summer Game Fest, is returning this year in June.
  • EA Play Live is skipping E3's grip entirely and will take place July 22.
  • GDC 2021 will hold a more traditional event, including the IGF awards, online July 19–23.
  • QuakeCon, Aug. 19–21, is digital only.
  • GamesCom, Aug. 25–27, initially announced as a "hybrid" digital and in-person event, will be digital only as of this week.
  • Xbox is also expected to hold a summer event with Bethesda.

Flashback: The ESA plans to return to an in-person E3 in 2022, but E3 2019 drew in only 66,100 attendees, compared to 2018's reported 69,200.

  • Companies like Nintendo, which opts for mini-press conferences as Nintendo Directs, rather than a single yearly rundown, already figured out that doing news in shorter doses drums excitement.

Go deeper

Gaming console losses are a hot topic at Epic v. Apple trial

The question of whether game consoles are really sold at a loss has taken on unexpected relevance during the Epic-Apple trial, as Apple’s lawyers have pressed for specifics.

The big picture: The conventional wisdom in gaming has long been that Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo sell their game consoles with zero or negative margins.

"No-code" miracle for startups

Expand chart
Data: Interactive Advertising Bureau; Table: Axios Visuals

The U.S. has reached a tipping point in its shift from the industrial economy — one that relied on the buildout of hardware — to an information economy that relies on the transfer, storage and implementation of data, according to a new report.

Why it matters: This shift towards a data and information-based economy has allowed more businesses to establish themselves and scale quickly and at a very low cost. As such, the number of jobs created by the commercial internet has more than tripled since 2012.

Amazon's small business shield

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Amazon is touting the success of small sellers on its platform through the pandemic — and warning that antitrust legislation could jeopardize that success and blow up its open-marketplace model.

Why it matters: As online shopping became a lifeline for both businesses and consumers during the pandemic, Amazon reaped big benefits, but also saw its regulatory risk grow.