E3 - very much alive and kicking

Written by Benke on the 31st of May 2012 at 22:10

A week or so there was a bit of a tremor in the force as an opinion piece over at Gamesindustry.biz argued that E3 had played out its role and use. It's not a surprising angle to play at - E3 has been struggling in the past - and from a distance there seems to be fewer and fewer revelations each year in Los Angeles.

Next week we will see a new Gears of War, Dead Space 3, the next Splinter Cell (in all likelihood), Quantic Dream's next (hopefully), and a whole host of new Wii U titles. But the middle class of gaming is not using E3 to make announcements anymore. Konami may have revealed the new Castlevania just in time for E3, but Sega and Capcom, along with companies like Warner and 2K Games are focusing on games already announced. They may have surprises at the conferences, but that's hard to know in advance.

More importantly though, there is no contender stepping up to try and challenge E3 as the main event on the gaming calendar. Sure, there are lots of great shows, Gamescom, Tokyo Game Show, PAX, all serve their purpose and GDC is a wonderful event in its own right - but none of these demand the attention and mainstream focus that E3 in Los Angeles enjoys. This is the Premier League of video games, and the others struggling further down in the Championship.

Could E3 potentially be replaced with publisher organised events that are streamed live an expansion of the press conferences of today? Possibly. But let's not forget that the industry needs an event like E3 - it spurs interest and it's the only place where the entire industry is represented (more or less).

E3 2012 is going to be my 8th straight E3 reporting from LA. I've been through the highs (2005) and the lows (2007 in Santa Monica), and there is currently nothing to indicate any decline as far as this year goes. Our schedules are full of interesting appointments and interviews, and as usual I'm forced to turn down exciting appointments as there is simply not enough time.

That said, E3 is far from perfect. There used to be two full days of press conferences and pre-show events with the actual show running from Wednesday through Friday. It was a bit more relaxed, and more press conferences/events prior to the show is the best way of actually getting to see all the major games - the showfloor, and behind closed doors sessions - simply take up too much time for one journalist to cover all the essential games on display. Another alternative would be to have the show run an extra day, but I'm sure there are cost issues with doing that.

E3 is the most important event on my calendar, it may not be the most enjoyable one, but I don't see it going anymore anytime soon. The Santa Monica experiment still leaves a sour taste in ESA's mouth.

E3 - very much alive and kicking

My badges of honour from E3 2011.