Friday, June 08, 2012

How To Fix E3

The uproarious cries from a gaming fan. I have a feeling that gaming journalists are siding with them.

E3 has turned into a wreck. Last year was pretty bad. (Nice shot Jeremy!) And this year didn’t turn out much better.

After finally making some time to watch the big 3 presentations I can agree with most of the comments that they were lackluster. Some may say that they sucked. I think we’re at a point that E3 is confused about its identity. There was an article about this last year through CNET that really drove into the troubles with E3. It’s a convention trying too hard to please two different crowds: gamers and tech lovers.

Plunkett referring to E3 as a gamer’s Christmas is a pretty good comparison. We sit and wait all year long or those 3 (now 4) days to hear about all of the new and shiny things that are going to be released. That anticipation, that excitement is what kept us interested. And since the bubble burst back in the mid 00’s (who feels old now?), E3 scaled back.

They tried to make it a business/tech show only. That didn’t work. They have been attempting, poorly, to make both realms work together, but neither group is really satisfied with the results. Now we’re stuck in this weird realm of what to do with E3.

Both gamers and the businessmen are not impressed any more. We don’t hear about brand new, never before seen products. It’s all games, consoles, and upgrades that we’ve known for a few months (and in some cases a few years *coughslastguardianendcoughs*) with “maybe” a new trailer or promo video.

You know what was the most exciting thing for me at E3 this year? Two things. The SE tech demo and Ubisoft announcing a brand new, never before seen game with gameplay Watch Dogs. Two items that never saw the light of day until E3. And you know what? Gamers were freekin’ thrilled. So were the tech guys for the SE demo. We spazzed because IT WAS SOMETHING NEW. We already know that Halo 4 is coming out, and Raiden Gear Solid, and another Madden. We’ve known about those for a long time.

E3 was Christmas again for those two moments. And it became fantastic. That's what we loved about old E3. New E3 no longer has that luster. As gamers, we want that pomp and circumstance. We want to be dazzled and wowed by things that devs have been hiding from us. A new video from Halo 4 doesn't hold luster when we know the game is coming out in November.

We’re at the point now where E3 has to make a decision. It can’t satisfy both parties equally. Either it becomes a tech only or game only show. You can’t have it both ways. Look at the popular “fan-based” conventions that exist in the U.S. The ones that have done so well, i.e. SDCC, AX, is because they focus on a particular niche. They may have little sections here and there on sub cultures (SDCC has a small anime base), their heart is on one subject. They focus on that, make it stand out, and give it the attention it needs to grow. That’s what E3 needs to do. They need to figure out what type of “show” they want to be. And if they decide to go the business route, we have TGS to look forward to.


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