Well, this one won’t live long in the memory, will it? E3 2017 has been fine, but it’s been far from vintage, and we’re struggling to think of any one announcement or theme that we’ll remember in the days to come – yet alone years. In fact, if there’s any one defining feature that’s really stood out, it’s that it’s all been very tetchy, hasn’t it? The show seems to have been defined by PR backfires and angry, unsatisfied fans.
To be honest, we’re not entirely sure why that is. There’s been a lot of passive aggression coming through in interviews with PlayStation Europe chief Jim Ryan and Xbox boss Phil Spencer, some of it probably unintentional and some of it clearly calculated. The whole cross-console play thing seems to have dominated the discussion in enthusiast circles, and while we certainly can appreciate why it’s commanding column inches, we’re yet to be convinced it’s that big of a deal.
And the fans are at the bosom of all this: associate editor Robert Ramsey penned a great piece about the hypocrisy that’s been a running theme all week. It’s felt like, even though it hasn’t been a vintage show, the most vocal gamers have been more concerned with what they haven’t seen than what they have. And we’re not sure whether that’s a reflection of the insatiable appetite that some players have, or an indictment of the current crop of content that’s on the way.
Of course, it hasn’t been wholly negative all around. PlayStation VR, in our opinion, had a particularly good week – especially when you consider that the major concern coming into the convention was that Sony wasn’t going to support it at all. Ubisoft will also be happy: battling a hostile takeover in the boardroom, the French publisher used its press conference to both flex its creative muscle and also to recognise the humility of its biggest names.
But these have been overlooked sub-plots in a week that’s been less a celebration of gaming and a more a dancing on its grave. And it brings an age-old question back to the fore: what is the point of E3? When you’ve got Sony holding back announcements for its own show and Nintendo running a Direct that could have aired any time, it all makes you wonder: why? Opening the floor to the public’s upped attendance but irritated the media – and they, along with retailers, are the reason it exists to begin with.
The death of E3 is a line of conversation that, ironically, has been done to death – and one bad year surely doesn’t mean its game over for the great show. But E3 2017 – like the scaled back E3 2008 before it – will go down in history as one of the years where once again questions got raised. And while we’re sure normal, hype-inducing service will resume in 12 months’ time, we can’t say we’re sad to see the back of this year’s event – it’s all been a bit ill-tempered from start to finish in our eyes.
Do you disagree with our comments on the state of this year's E3? Has great software been soured by a toxic atmosphere? What have you made of the week as a whole, and what does the future hold for the convention? Look back on this year's show in the comments section below.