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Steam will host more virtual game festivals during lockdown

With demos to play

With calendars wiped clean by the ongoing lockdown, another two virtual games events have announced plans to fill in the gap with showcases on Steam for the public to play demos and hear developers. Valve and Geoff Keighley's official Steam Game Festival will return in June, and it's probably no coincidence they're claiming dates previously held by E3. And the Polish games conference, Digital Dragons will take its Indie Showcase to Steam in May, now that the physical event is postponed. I do hope event organisers will continue to hold virtual showcases for everyone even after in-person events resume.

The Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition will run June 9-12th, offering "time-limited demos or short playable experiences" for upcoming games, devs chatting, and so on. Like previous Steam Game Festivals, but now happening in the week E3 was due to fill. This is wholly separate to E3, to be clear, just conveniently claiming its spot. E3's organisers don't plan to hold an official online alternative, though it seems many publishers will still go ahead with announcements and such on their own livestreams.

Valve's summer festival page has handy options for the public to sign up for reminders, as well as for developers to sign up to take part. Keighley mentioned on Twitter that "The Festival will also expand to more platforms," though it's not yet clear what that means.

The first Steam Game Festival was held in December 2019 alongside Geoff Keighley's Game Awards, then it returned in March to fill the void left by GDC's postponement.

As for Digital Dragons, the games conference will take its annual indie games festival and awards to Steam as the Digital Dragons Indie Celebration on May 13-15th. Working with Valve and the Polish publishers, Walkabout Games, the organisers plan to highlight fifty indie games on a special Steam page with demos, streams, interviews, and awards. Interested devs can sign up over here.

Having had no plans to attend either E3 or Digital Dragons myself, yup, cool, I'll check out and play the games in these. Some developers have spoken to us about losing community vibes from cancelled events and this can't really help with that, but the virtual events will certainly still be welcome.

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