In one of the more surprising pieces of news in the video game industry today, Valve has announced that it is rebranding the Game Festival as Steam Next Fest. The upcoming event will be an online event scheduled from June 16 to June 22.
According to the official announcement, Steam Next Fest will include tons of game trailers, live streams straight from developers, and best of all, a ton of free demos of featured titles.
Coincidentally, Steam Next Fest will compete against the currently planned only-online E3 2021 event that's scheduled for June 15 to June 17.
What Is The Steam Next Fest?
Steam Game Festival is a semi-regular event that Vale has held throughout the years. The most recent one took place in February 2021, where Steam users got a chance to take a look at several upcoming indie titles and play as many as 500 demos.
Among the games featured at the said event include Genesis Noir and Narita Boy. Both of these games are now expected to release on March 26 and March 30, respectively.
With that said, fans can expect Steam Next Fest to play similarly to Valve's previous showcases.
What's more important right now is the dates. Interestingly, Valve chose the mid-June dates specifically. After all, it's when the annual event, E3, is usually held. However, as we've mentioned earlier, the online-only event scheduled for mid-June later this year is still in its planning phase. This means that it could or could not still push through.
If the organizers end up canceling E3 2021 as well, it will mark the first time since its inception that an E3 event will be canceled two years in a row.
Valve Joins Other Companies in Holding Online Showcases
More and more companies seem to be embracing online showcases this 2021. Although this isn't Steam's first time to do so, the decision to rebrand seems to be a step towards making the Steam Next Fest more of a regular thing. Not to mention, it makes a lot of sense for Valve to take this opportunity to bring more gamers into their platform.
Steam is currently facing fiercer competition than ever before. Epic continues to give away free games on their Epic Games Store. Meanwhile, they've secured exclusivity to several big titles, including Kingdom Hearts. Plus, with Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass library steadily growing in terms of size and quality, Valve has its work cut out for them.
In addition to Valve, companies such as Square Enix and Capcom have held their respective showcases online. Both already have plans to do more in the future. In addition to this, the Game Developers Conference, otherwise known as GDC, has already announced its plans to hold digital events throughout the entirety of 2021.
This could spell some serious problems for E3 as this will mark the first time that they'll have to compete with so many others for the attention of the international gaming community.