I’m not the first to state that E3 was on its deathbed before COVID-19 brought it down prematurely this year. Ignoring the writing on the wall is conference organizer Entertainment Software Association (ESA).
The group revealed dates for E3 2021, claiming a “reimagined event” is in store. This, I assume, will be different than the online-focused event in store for this year.
But my only question is: who cares?
E3 attendance has been on the decline. Nintendo, Sony and other publishers already hold their own digital events. IGN is launching a “Summer of Gaming” event to replace the long-standing conference. The conference’s absence is hardly a month official, and the industry is already filling in the gap.
It leaves one to wonder if ESA should even try. Ever since opening up to the public, journalists and exhibitors alike have commented on the conference’s downfall.
Nowadays, the floor is packed. Journalists can’t make appointments as the public crowds the booths. Floor space is expensive, and if publishers can’t show their game off to as many journalists as possible, then what’s the point?
Former games journalist GamesNosh puts it best on Twitter:
That’s not to mention ESA’s terrible handling of private information. Remember the data leak of E3 2019? Nobody in their right mind wants to suffer that again.
The only downside to E3’s cancellation is the developers and exhibitors who make business connections during the conference. This show is a lifeline for those industry members. The good news is we do have alternatives.
Why can’t we see an industry-focused event like GDC take E3’s place? What about a digital event like IGN’s Summer of Gaming? Developers can phone in and do interviews, saving them time and travel money.
With PAX East, Steam hosted an Indie games showcase. Here, teams can stream their games with developer commentary, exposing their titles to players around the world.
If anything, E3 disappearing is the industry’s best way to move toward the future. We have the internet, streaming, and so many other ways to bring exposure to new games. Why not take advantage of it?
This article was edited by Sam Bourgi.
Last modified: April 4, 2020 8:41 PM UTC