E32021 was bust

Last week, gamers got what they expected early in the summer. Numerous big game announcements, thrilling trailers, and gameplay releases set the stage for next year, and the industry is eager to move into the future after the common hardships of last year’s quarantine. understood. For gamers, E3 has become a buzzword for a kind of Christmas time that the game reveals. Accompanied by a crowd of greedy fans who can’t wait to be torn apart in the present of the next big announcement. Even among the Game Informer staff, we used the word “E3 2021” to keep track of trends and pick up big news from the gaming industry.

The problem, of course, was that the news and announcements that excited us last week had little to do with the ESA-run event (the actual official show called E3). The event – ​​E3 2021 – failed to improve.

E3 has a long history as a showplace in the gaming industry, and it’s no wonder that format and presentation changes. Over the years, it moved from Los Angeles to Atlanta and back again. In 2007 and 2008 we moved to the focus of small businesses. Recently, it has been open to the public, apart from the origin of the trade fair. And like almost every global face-to-face event in 2020, it was completely cancelled.

ESA was in a difficult situation when it had to decide on a plan for the 2021 event. Given public health concerns, it is still unthinkable to consider a large face-to-face meeting that could involve thousands of participants, especially if many of those participants arrive from international destinations. It was premature. But I’m convinced, especially among showrunners, that the second year without an official show would set a bad precedent.

Unfortunately, the resulting digital-only event was shallow and felt poorly organized, so I thought I should have skipped the show for another year. In recent events, I spent time perusing the website, which is apparently the official digital presence of the E3 event. It’s a depressing experience. The “booth” is just a slimmed-down press site, and some of these clickable booths literally have no content at all. Most of the companies that contained clickable elements were filled with old game content, and many weren’t updated during the show as new games came to light. Similarly, the video content included is a combination of weird and disorganized clips, mostly from studios, games, and content creators that I barely recognize. E3 is an event that has always been known as the interactive experience of the interactive gaming industry, but few games related to this year’s show even offer playable demos or builds.

Meanwhile, well-known publishers seemed to stay away from official events with their own video conferencing. Presentations from Xbox, Ubisoft, and others stayed on E3’s official schedule, but it’s worth noting that these companies mentioned E3, if at all, for a brief moment. Some small publishers ran events that they felt were compulsory and unnecessary, insisted on scheduled spots, and issued a stream of insignificant details. And according to trends that have been built over the years, publishers like Sony have avoided this week’s announcement altogether and saved most or all of their upcoming catalogs for display at selected locations and times. I will. Other game makers have opted to collaborate with external partners to publish, such as the Summer Game Fest, which launched challengingly two days before the official E3 show began.

Overall, this year gave us a new feeling that E3 itself was hardly a show. And even though most of us have colloquially called it “E3” lately, the event itself was a failure. The combination of the inevitable safety concerns of a real-world pandemic and the increasing number of publisher executives choosing to set their own communication parameters has hit the Big Show particularly penalizing its reputation. .. Even the announcement of returning to a face-to-face event in LA next year is not enough to thwart the strength of the hit.

From my point of view, it’s really disappointing. Due to all of its many changing features, locations, and formats, I was disappointed to see the show lose its effectiveness in recent years. I know how publishers can be very expensive and all games and businesses are forced to scramble to get attention in the news flood. But for gamers and gaming industry professionals, E3 was also a short moment of unified intent, shared communication, and community.

Over the years, E3 has brought together fans, game creators, media and business people to share their celebrations. It was also a moment when everyone could look back on next year, raising their heads from our day-to-day work to feel the vastness and excitement of the gaming industry and hobbies. Its incredible wave of activity is valuable, and it often crosses barriers to attract more mainstream attention, which makes a claim to the broader culture of how video games continue to evolve and grow. Useful for. I hope E3 will achieve such a peculiar pull again. Unfortunately, E3 2021 failed to reach that goal. I think it’s more harmful than good for future iterations to be successful.