Oh E3. It’s only the greatest time of year for all gamers; the press event that produces a media storm announcing the games that you’ll wait for in anticipation for years to come *Cough* *Elder Scrolls* *Bethesda* *Cough*… It’s E3 – except it isn’t – publishers are making their own events now, and with this I have to ask… Is E3 going to die off soon?
The Electronic Entertainment Expo – more commonly known as E3 – is a trade event organised by America’s ESA (Entertainment Software Association). These guys are in charge of the people who give an age rating to the games over there; the event was founded in 1995, that’s 23 years ago. Press is invited along to the event where publishers and indie projects present what they’re doing, either through a keynote where they present trailers and sometimes show gameplay, or on a stall where people can come up and have a go at game demos or beta game versions… But because this is the generation of the internet, all of us get to see everything new at the same time because it’s live-streamed, normally on platforms like Twitch.
This year, E3 has changed. Sony has announced that they will not be attending this year’s event, following the news that Sony’s cancelling their PlayStation Experience event. Their reason was that they didn’t have enough games to show at E3 – Some people think that it’s a bad thing Sony is leaving… But personally, I don’t. I think it means that Sony is putting more efforts into making the PS5, or whatever they’re going to call it; the most they have said about it is that it’s necessary to have next-generation hardware – Most people have no idea what that means, but I have an idea; maybe they’re going to try put Ray Tracing into the new PlayStation as per recent rumours? If not I won’t be upset, it’s still going to be a good improvement over the PS4, and if I can keep my PS4 games working with backwards compatibility then that would be just great.
Some people have come up with the idea that because Sony has said they’re not coming, maybe more people will stop coming as well. Once again, I don’t think that’s going to happen. E3 is still the biggest press event and, currently, it’s the biggest platform to present games to the entire world. Sony has their reasons for not wanting to come this year, but for everyone else, it just means that there’s less competition to grab people’s attention with the next big game.
There’s one other big reason why E3 won’t go away – It’s not just the massive studios pumping out the games right now. We’re in the resurgence of indie games. It’s the small teams of developers putting out some of the most unusual, unique and imaginative games, the guys slogging away to make the first game that really hit its strides within VR. Shout out to the CloneHero guys who are supporting one game while developing something completely new in tandem, and also the Crows Crows Crows team. The Stanley Parable was one of my favourite games and I’m excited to see what other ways you can warp my mind with the choices you present to me.
Something that I can see happening, on the other hand, is something EA has started doing – During the length of E3, EA will occupy the Hollywood Palladium for their own event, EA Play. While this is technically happening at E3, it is a separate event. In the future, I can see some other publishers doing the same thing – Microsoft has the money to be able to pull something similar off, but I doubt they would until they’ve sorted what they’re doing with their gaming services. Ubisoft might, on the other hand, follow suit… But I don’t think that they would be able to pull it off. While they make lots of good games, they’re all old IPs. They haven’t come up with anything new in a while, instead, they’re just publishing smaller developers games.
So to finish it off, no, E3 isn’t going anywhere, there’s enough attraction to keep things going as they are… Because if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.