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E3 is dying and that is okay

E3 is dying and that is okay

E3 is dying and that is okay
March 21
09:00 2020

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) was a lovely event, cherished in the hearts of gamers. The event was so breathtaking that its breath never returned. E3 shall be dearly missed… or will it?

In all seriousness, the future of E3 is looking bleak. If you’re not in the know, E3 is an annual convention where gaming companies gather together to show off all of their upcoming announcements that consumers can look forward to. It’s been supported by major companies like Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony since since its inception in 1995. In Los Angeles, the physical convention had booths and demos for all the different games and companies for fans to enjoy. I’ve only been able to watch streams of the events, but I’ve always been thrilled and excited to find out what games and consoles will be unveiled there. However, now the gaming community is questioning the necessity of E3.

Unfortunately, as gamers were wondering how well E3 would perform in 2020, an unexpected outbreak moved to shut it down early. E3 2020 was canceled amidst concerns over the Coronavirus earlier this month. Obviously this is to prevent the spread of the virus by limiting large-scale gatherings, but E3 2020 wasn’t looking too good to begin with.

One of the biggest nails in the coffin was when Sony decided to skip E3 2019 last year, and before it was canceled, they intended to skip this year as well. The loss of one of its biggest supporters and events was a big hit for the convention. There were also rumors that Nintendo might have been skipping this year as well, but given its response to the event’s cancellation, it does appear it intended to participate. Nintendo still wants to engage with its audience and despite the cancellation, companies like Mircosoft are already working on online substitutes for the event.

E3’s parent company, Entertainment Software Association or ESA, had leaked pitches for changes to the convention’s practices. It seems that it might prioritize inviting influencers who only have positive opinions of the event rather than regular media outlets. The most concerning pitch, however, was “queuetainment” which is the plan to increase wait times for game demos and take advantage of those longer lines to shove more advertisements toward the attendees.

The ESA was already unappealing before these leaks however, as last year over 2,000 E3 attendees got their personal information doxxed after the event. Shady business pitches combined with a disastrous leaking of guests’ info is not a good look for ESA.

Even putting all this aside, according to regular attendees, the physical event’s quality has declined over the years, according to YouTuber Arlo’s video on the subject. I found myself agreeing with most of his takes on the event as a whole. It is really beneficial for the industry if companies synchronize the timing for their big announcements because it creates hype and attention.

Looking back though, I only ever cared about the announcement from the companies themselves like Nintendo and Sony, and every company has adapted to streaming announcements through their own means like Nintendo Directs and Sony’s State of Plays. E3 was just a middle-man and now it’s kind of a useless one. I don’t want developers to rush out games and announcements to hit that yearly E3 deadline, which can cause unnecessary crunch work within the industry. Announcing games too early can lead to droughts of information just like how the Final Fantasy 7 remake was announced in 2015 but took five years to actually release. 

I think I’d rather have the companies announce the games directly whenever they have announcements prepared. Despite all of this, I am not wishing for E3’s demise either. It’s a cool event to have, but now that it’s on its deathbed I’m just surprised at how not upset I am given how much I looked forward to this event in the past. It’s like I’m attending the funeral of a distant relative but I only showed up because Uncle Nintendo brought some really good entrees for the snack table.

Featured Illustration: Jae-Eun Suh

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Matthew Payne

Matthew Payne

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