I want to come back to E3, but is Sony, Activision or even Microsoft doing it?
I deployed the Hallowed Michael Cera GIF several times this week. Mostly it was prompted by the long-awaited collapse of the British government, culminating in the even later resignation of the man who experts rightly call the worst prime minister our sad kingdom has ever known.
But I released it (the GIF, that is, calm down) again on Thursday at the news that E3 2023 will be led by ReedPop. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, it’s the events company behind PAX, Comic-Con and EGX, and the parent company of websites such as Eurogamer, Gamesindustry.biz and Rock, Paper, Shotgun and the network partner of VGC. .
This is very promising news, I think, for the future of video game Christmas. ReedPop has a proven track record in events and deep gaming industry expertise within its ranks. It promises to give gaming’s greatest spectacle on Earth the boost that even I, one of its staunchest supporters, will admit has needed for some time.
I spent a while pricing flights and hovering over the “confirm booking” button on Los Angeles hotel websites, exploring if I could afford a trip on my own. Maybe if Remarkable recent hit point growth continues (over the past 60 days, the total number of subscribers and paid subscribers has increased by about 30%) and that my consulting work continues at its current pace (I’m so busy I could die) , we could make it, you know. Heavens. Life points make true-E3. To imagine!
When I saw the news, my original plan for this edition was to put on my Clever Consultant Hat and expose the challenges ReedPop faces in reinventing the show. Then I realized that GI.biz big man Chris Dring, who is currently a consultant on the future of E3, had already done it (and very well, I must say, gritting your teeth slightly). So it doesn’t matter. Let’s take that as a starting point and see where we land.
The most heartening thing about Chris’ article is the recognition that E3 is much more than a three-day event at the LA Convention Center. It’s not a one-off show, but a festival-style collection, spread all over Los Angeles. Indeed, over the years, as the focus shifted from a primarily in-person event to a shindig attended by millions of people around the world through a browser window – and companies that had been E3 fixtures for years began to move away to do their own thing – the convention itself felt less and less like the defining part of the week, and just another part of it instead.
Acknowledging that EA Play, Devolver’s Hooters parking lot nonsense, and all the other sideshows shouldn’t be seen as competitors to E3, but its staff suggest a change of mindset, I’m not sure ESA would have ever arrived on its own, and it’s long overdue doesn’t make it any less welcome. Good product.
“Over the years, as the focus has shifted from a primarily in-person event to a shindig attended by millions around the world through a browser window…the convention itself has become less and less felt like the defining part of the week, and just another part instead.
The inconvenient consequence of this, however, is that this reinvention is not entirely under ReedPop’s control. It will only work if everyone is on board. For watchers like us, things just haven’t been the same over the past few years. Hype levels plummeted through the floor as our traditional week-long celebration was replaced by an endless series of showcases, live streams and trailers that don’t air when the schedule demands. and that fans expect, but whenever their creators feel like it. .
It’s not just about the pandemic either. The last pre-Covid E3s were as much defined by companies that weren’t there and decided to do things on their own terms, as those that were.
I want E3 back, of course, but is Sony, or Activision, or even Microsoft? E3 represents a huge expense for these companies – not just the millions spent on exhibit space, booth construction and staff, but also the commitment of resources to get the demos ready on time. And when everyone is gathered in the same place, at the same time, there is naturally a battle that is heard above the din.
As such, I’m not sure these folks miss E3 as much as we do. Sony announced the release date of God Of War: Ragnarok the other day, in a 30 second video. On PlayStation’s main YouTube channel alone, it already has nearly four million views. Last year’s Horizon Forbidden West gameplay reveal has over 10m. How prone will Sony be to spend millions to return to the new look of E3, when organizers are already talking about broadening the focus of the show and diluting viewers’ attention even further? ?
That’s the biggest challenge ReedPop faces as it works to reinvent the greatest video game spectacle on the planet. It’s far from the only circle that needs to be squared, of course. But whatever ReedPop does to rebalance the trade show component of E3 with a desire to open elements of it to the public, or to expand the show’s lineup beyond hit triple-A console games, will matter little. if the main actors are not involved.
Chris makes a great point in his post, about that hackneyed post-show question: who won E3? “That’s a fun question to answer as a journalist, but not as an event planner,” he wrote. “Because if the answer isn’t ‘everyone,’ you probably haven’t done a good enough job.” Enough. I couldn’t have said it better myself (ugh).
Obviously, I hope, for both professional and personal reasons, that they will succeed, but the more I think about it, the more difficult it seems to me. But yeah, fingers crossed that it happens, and I can get on a plane and see it for myself. Should probably start pushing paid subscriptions a bit harder, huh. Apologies in advance.