I’ve heard a lot of rumblings lately about the declining importance and attention given to the Electronic Entertainment Expo this year. So far we’ve seen EA, Blizzard and Disney Interactive all bow out of attending the 2016 event altogether. This coupled with the way Nintendo has been slowly but surely pulling back support has a lot of folks wondering just what is happening to E3.
What I think is afoot is that as we’re seeing companies grow bigger and focus more on their bottom line we are starting to see the movers and shakers of the industry want to be the sole focus of these reveal events. Square Enix did a fantastic job with their Final Fantasy XV Uncovered event where they spent an hour and a half showcasing the upcoming game for an auditorium full of fans. The buzz was huge, the presentation was great and they didn’t have to compete with any other gaming headlines.
This seems to be an approach Nintendo is leaning towards heavily as well. For the past few years they have foregone a stage show in lieu of their Digital Event and this year they will bring only one game to the floor and reserve the reveal of the NX for (presumably) an exclusive Nintendo event.
There’s a shift in the way developers want to deliver their message and its shifting away from E3. This bums me out as a longtime gamer who so looks forward to this event each year. E3 is like Christmas morning for us. We wait and wonder each year what the big reveals and surprises will be. I don’t want that to end.
So how do you save E3? It seems apparent with the growing popularity of events like PAX and even the big San Diego comic cons that the way to reignite interest is to bring in the fans. Opening the doors of E3 to the public will mean that the masses will create more buzz and interest with these upcoming games that will translate into more dollars made for developers. Fans live tweeting about their demo experiences will gain more attention and interest among our friends than a preview article from IGN. Hell, you could even have pre-order kiosks at your booth for gamers to sign on the dotted line after their play-through!
If E3 can show developers a business and profit benefit for attending their show then they’ll start coming back. Otherwise companies will continue looking for other ways to invest in more isolated marketing events.
I don’t know if E3 is dying. We’ve certainly seen turbulent times for this show before. But one thing is for sure, in order to be the mega-event that it once was, changes need to be made to the format. Are you listening E3? Let us in. We have full wallets and we want to play.