E3 is widely considered to be the biggest week in the gaming calendar, but is that actually true anymore? In just over ten days, publishers and platform holders will descend upon Los Angeles to reveal to the world their biggest wares – well, assuming they haven’t already leaked on Walmart’s website anyway. It’s a period of much enthusiasm for the industry’s most hardcore circles, as animated images serve to illustrate the sector’s excitement – and social media teams have a field day.
But is the event on the decline? It’s a question that gets postulated every year, but the show never seems to go away. And yet there are signs that its relevance may be waning just a little bit – even if it’s unlikely to disappear soon.
Chief among that is just how many titles have started to be revealed prior to the event itself of late. In the case of titles like Fallout 76 and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, it’s been little more than teasing; Bethesda and Ubisoft want you tuning in to their press conferences to learn more. With releases like RAGE 2, though, it’s been much more than that – they’ve been revealed early in order to avoid being overshadowed by the sheer noise that E3 brings.
And it makes you wonder: do we even need E3 anymore? In this social media age, companies have no problem reaching their consumers directly; between Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch, these organisations can get news out to their fans any day of the week. Look at Sony: the PlayStation Blog has become a source for official daily news drops, and it even has its own E3-esque event in PlayStation Experience.
E3 is obviously about more than press conferences: it’s a major convention for products to be shown off. But it’s transitioned from an industry-only event into something that consumers can now attend, and even then it’s eclipsed by the likes of Gamescom in terms of sheer scale. EA, the biggest third-party publisher in the world, has opted to hold its own event for a few years now – and while its EA Play initiative rides the coattails of E3, it’s only a matter of time before it fully breaks away.
Whether you like it or not, publishers are becoming savvy to the sheer volume of E3, and the challenges that brings. It’s the reason you’re seeing early announcements; heck, it’s the reason that Sony’s Paris Games Week showcase eclipsed its E3 2017 one. When you have the opportunity to dominate the news cycle, why scream desperately into the din? Nintendo, to its credit, was one of the very first to recognise this; its Nintendo Directs attract interest all year round.
And yet, there is still an inherent draw to E3 – a week in which the spotlight is on the games industry, and mainstream news publications send out reporters to feel the pulse of a medium that makes a lot of money, but does still largely get overlooked. There’s a togetherness about all of the biggest companies coming together for one week only, and demonstrating what the industry is capable of. Exactly how much life the event has got left in it, though, is a question that's going to continue to be asked.
Do you think the allure of E3 is waning? Do you still enjoy the theatre of the Los Angeles event – even if it means some announcements inevitably get lost in the noise? Try to standout in the comments section below.
Do we still need E3? (147 votes)
Yes, it's the best part of the gaming calendar
Hmm, I'm not sure and honestly not fussed
No, it's slowly losing relevance in my opinion
Please login to vote in this poll.