The Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) is one of the most iconic conventions of game developers, publishers and gaming industry media professionals in the world, but in recent years, it has lost its luster. The announcement of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 has restored some of the sparkle that attracts gamers. However, with many companies not attending or holding alternate showings instead of the sensational press conferences, a la Nintendo’s nationwide E3 at Best Buy, the question concerning E3’s relevancy rears its ugly head. E3 has also transitioned to more of a show rather than a convention. The focus is on the press conferences instead of the actual showroom floor and interactions that PAX and Gamescom are famous for. You could argue that PAX and Gamescom are consumer conventions as opposed to industry exclusive conventions, but that shouldn’t mean that E3 can’t be as fun or exhilarating as it used to be.
I remember impatiently waiting as a youth for the newest volume of Nintendo Power or PCGamer to arrive at my doorstep to explain all the happenings of E3 in deep detail. The features and experiences that the press brought me made me excited to play the games. Now I go on the internet and watch the press events while I eat my lunch, not paying as much attention and usually just thinking, “oh that’s cool…” In contrast, I can’t wait for PAX where the amount of interactivity goes up tenfold with LAN events, giveaways and actual personal experiences.
Ultimately, I think that E3 is still relevant but definitely not to the degree or for the same reasons it used to be. The splintering of conventions and announcements, such as the next gen console reveals or Minecon and Blizzcon, outside of E3 has lowered the importance of E3 by mitigating the amount of breaking industry news that comes out of the show. People pay attention to E3 because of its flashy nature, rather than for the excitement of the experience. Wokendreamer from Gameskinny makes an excellent point about E3’s location in the convention niche:
“[E3] has lost much of the unique power it once held because there are other options now that are not simply shows, but experiences.” – Wokendreamer
I completely agree that this is the case. Without E3 changing its methods to interact more with attendees and the audience, I don’t foresee them returning to relevancy as a convention, rather than a show.