The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, will be held as a virtual event this year after being cancelled due to the pandemic in 2020

The world's premier video game trade show will return in June as a free, virtual event after the annual gathering was cancelled last year because of the pandemic.

Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) shop talk and revelations will be solely online in a show that will take place from June 12 through June 15, the Entertainment Software Association announced on Tuesday.

The event had typically involved packing the Los Angeles convention center with costumed characters; game scene recreations, and opportunities to play titles poised for release.

"For more than two decades, E3 has been the premier venue to showcase the best that the has to offer," association chief Stanley Pierre-Louis said in a release.

"We are evolving this year's E3 into a more inclusive event, but will still look to excite the fans with major reveals and insider opportunities that make this event the indispensable center stage for games."

The list of companies already signed on to take part in E3 this year included Nintendo, Microsoft, and French video game titan Ubisoft.

Absent from the roster was Sony and its popular PlayStation console that competes with Nintendo's Switch and Xbox by Microsoft.

E3 has been a showcase for new titles, trends and hardware, attracting people from around the world.

The event had long been restricted to members of the industry, but has dabbled with opening parts of the show to fans in recent years.