The Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, kicks off June 9 with an abundance of announcements from the makers of the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Wii U. Then, the doors of the Los Angeles Convention Center opens June 10, showcasing the biggest video games launching this holiday and beyond.
It happens like clockwork around this time of year when some people question if E3 is still relevant or if it should give up the ghost.
That's like asking what we need christmas for because we can gift each other things all year long.
It's just that there is this one date, where everyone focuses on what's next in video games, where all big console manufacturers and the biggest third party publisher compete with each other almost face to face with what they have in stock to catch the interest of gamers over the next year. All set with conferences with fixed dates you can wait for, you know when they start their rain of announcements and you can ask fellow gamers to watch them together with you live and comment on all the awes and fails via the social network of your choice.
In exactly the same way that the Oscars promote Hollywood's films, keep them in the mind of their customers, and give them an air of gravitas and respectability, E3 does for the games industry. This is the time of year that the mainstream press dishes out a bunch of free publicity to videogames companies, and reminds people that games make more money than movies. Many industries have suffered because they have let their narrative be seized and written by outsiders. E3 lets companies tell their story, namely that the intent of videogames is to be entertaining, fun, and social with broad varieties for broad tastes. E3 is the face that games companies put on not to gamers, but to the rest of the world.
Of course it still matters. Maybe not to some of the cynics, but to gaming at large. If not E3, something like it. And no, GDC doesn't count, PAX doesn't count, Gamescom doesn't count unless E3 stops existing, and none of the publisher-specific events out there will ever count. It's a trade show, not a festival, not an event that is all games and no demonstration, and not an impromptu temporary theme park - but an honest-to-goodness place, where the industry and the people in it "debut" their nearly-finished or finished works and innovations.
I don't think people who go there in person routinely are aware of how E3 filters out. Its footprint is insane by comparison to anything else. The media wears something nice and gets the pundits to sit and talk games on Television and the intertubes. Every site is skinned for it. Every publisher works for it. Every investor pays attention to it. The more attention drawn, the bigger the exposure to its target audience. This exposure works in everyone's favor, for developers, studios, and indies. Giving them the spotlights they need to showcase our upcoming gaming future and any other big interesting announcements. If they just let loose like any normal announcement on an average day, the exposure won't be as large or solid, and if you're an indie company, or a new indie company, you most likely won't be on everyone's radar. And thus, won't have a big reach to your audience.
With that being said...I wouldn't mind seeing pre-keynote predictions/coverage, broadcasting the keynotes, and post-presser reactions, but they should have significantly more interviews and demos compared to what they show - stuff that runs the LENGTH of E3, not just the first two big days. They don't need to show the secondary pressers (Ubi, Konami, etc.) for all I care - make them available online and have a ticker scroll across the screen with actual, punctual updates while you're still doing interviews/demo coverage. Send reporters onto the floor via remote segments, host more journalist (recap/reaction) panels, etc.
Being a gamer isn't just about playing games, it's about being deeply immersed in the culture surrounding them, and E3 is the pinnacle of that. What are your predictions and rumors for this years event? Sound off in the comments.