“Stop, stop! He's already dead!”
March 14, 2020 2:28 PM   Subscribe

Is E3 Dying? [Gaming Bolt] “Earlier this week, the ESA announced that it will be cancelling E3 this year, in light of the spread of the coronavirus, now officially declared a global epidemic by the WHO. This news wasn’t that surprising – we’ve seen a lot of things be impacted by the coronavirus, with Sony pulling out of PAX East, and GDC 2020 being delayed, Nintendo Switch shipments being affected, and even widespread speculation that the launch of next generation consoles may be delayed because of the impact this virus has had on the global production and shipment chain. In and of itself, this would probably be a big blow; however, this year, it just felt like the logical culmination of events that we had been seeing developing for months now. [...] In other words, we had seen E3 2020 slowly spiral the drain for a while now. The coronavirus induced cancellation seemed more like a formal confirmation of what we all knew was coming than anything else.”

• A year without E3 is a chance to take stock [Games Industry Biz]
“The cancellation unquestionably punches a hole in the industry's calendar, and in the marketing and communication plans of several major companies. E3 has been a fixture of the landscape since the '90s, and while it has faltered at various points in its history -- notably a deeply unpopular relocation to Atlanta for a couple of years in the '90s, and a tone-deaf but temporary downsizing of the show in the late '00s -- its importance as a defining week in which the world's attention is turned to the games business has never entirely faded. Even companies who don't attend E3 -- a list that swells with more prestigious notables every year -- recognise the importance of E3 week, usually substituting their actual show attendance with pre- or post-E3 events in local markets, or with online broadcasts about their upcoming games. [...] E3 today still faces the same fundamental problem that it did in the '00s, which forced the ill-fated downsizing of the event; it's a hugely expensive event, both for the publishers and platform holders who exhibit at it and for the media organisations who send staff there to cover it. If it turns out that a similar amount of value in marketing and communication terms can be generated without E3 -- well, if the Emperor really has no clothes, this cancellation will make that situation undeniable.”
• E3 2020’s Cancellation Could Mean the End of Gaming’s Biggest Event [Den of Geek]
“In recent years, we’ve seen several companies challenge the notion that E3 is an essential industry event. Nintendo was arguably the first major player to voluntarily “drop out of E3” when it stopped hosting live, on-stage press conferences in 2013 in order to focus on digital Nintendo Direct live stream presentations instead. (That said, Nintendo still hosts one of the biggest booths on the show floor.) Sony and Electronic Arts followed in more recent years, abandoning or greatly reducing their E3 presence. In fact, Sony wasn’t even planning to attend E3 2020, a move made all the more shocking by the fact that the PlayStation 5 will be out in just a few months. Prior to its cancellation, E3 2020 was already shaping up to be the most contentious E3 yet. The Game Awards creator and host of the annual E3 Coliseum live stream Geoff Keighley dropped out of the show, questioning the creative direction of this year’s show, which involved a fan-oriented focus on influencers and celebrities, an emphasis on interactive experiences, and “queuetainment” designed to advertise to attendees while they waited in line for demos. While this new format does constitute an “evolution” of the event, it’s clear these potential changes didn’t address the concerns of people like former SIE Worldwide Studios chairman Shawn Layden, who commented in 2019 that “The world has changed, but E3 hasn’t necessarily changed with it.””
• E3 2020’s Cancellation May Have Killed the Event for Good [Escapist Magazine]
“The spectacle of gathering the biggest and greatest players in the world of gaming for a week-long convention has been on a steady downtrend for everyone involved. While the love and appreciation for the idea of E3 still seems intact, the reality of the situation is that the model is growing increasingly outdated and companies are finding better and cheaper ways to get big announcements out to the public. [...] With E3’s cancellation, the industry will be forced to showcase all its news from its respective homes across the internet. Any company still unsure about adopting the “Nintendo Direct”-style videos now has little choice but to try. And it could be a hard sell to get many of them back into the previous model if things go well. In a year where E3 really needed a win, being forced to cancel feels like a limping racehorse being put out of its misery. Despite the history and affection for what E3 has meant for the games industry, it has continued to grow ever more irrelevant and outdated. So it may even be for the best that we’re forced to do things differently going forward.”
posted by Fizz (15 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I do agree with most of these articles that this has all felt inevitable and that E3 as we knew it is dead. Nintendo and Sony both releasing regularly scheduled video announcements is the new trend. And since most of these gaming companies are now creating their own stores/platforms/subscription services, they're going to pull out from these types of everyone gathers together conventions and just have their own thing. It gives them more control with the content they're marketing.
posted by Fizz at 2:34 PM on March 14, 2020


Nobody goes to E3 anymore... It's too popular.
posted by kaibutsu at 2:37 PM on March 14, 2020 [6 favorites]


but how will i enjoy the month of june without todd howard memes
posted by poffin boffin at 3:21 PM on March 14, 2020 [5 favorites]


but how will i enjoy the month of june without todd howard memes

I'm sure Todd Howard will still find ways to be embarrassing.
posted by Fizz at 3:40 PM on March 14, 2020 [3 favorites]


E3 in June is the furthest out cancellation I've seen yet. How long do you think are we going to be in social lock down in the US/Canada? I don't like this reality.
posted by Popular Ethics at 4:20 PM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]


STOP PRONOUNCING "E3" WRONG
posted by rhizome at 5:35 PM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]


Super bummed that we won't get Giant Bomb's nightly show this year, it's something I always look forward to.
posted by selfnoise at 5:43 PM on March 14, 2020


"How long do you think are we going to be in social lock down in the US/Canada?"

Until we give up and let the Boomers* fall where they may. I hear the UK is trying this approach to speed things up now.

(*I'm a Boomer. And one of the other high risk groups as well)
posted by aleph at 5:57 PM on March 14, 2020 [2 favorites]


There is the added danger (for the immediate future) that so many cases will happen (like Italy) that it will overwhelm the Medical/Healthcare system. And then *everybody* will have extra levels of OMG crap to deal with. We still have some hope of (at least) avoiding that. So we'll still do lockdown/etc to avoid that until we at least think *that's* past.
posted by aleph at 6:24 PM on March 14, 2020


*Then* the Boomers get it! :)
posted by aleph at 6:37 PM on March 14, 2020


I will miss the Giant Bomb nightly E3 show but that's about it.
posted by Tenuki at 6:50 PM on March 14, 2020


How long do you think are we going to be in social lock down in the US/Canada?

Exponential growth and epidemics (3Blue1Brown).

When there are the same number of new cases every day for a bit, we'll be halfway through the ordeal. Roughly.
posted by zengargoyle at 7:12 PM on March 14, 2020 [2 favorites]


Even if it finally dies, it’ll live forever on various game codebases in the form of...

// TMP E3 2006 hack, we’ll fix it later

:)

I had the privilege to go and demo our game while it was still relevant, when you have a good product to show it’s quite amazing. But the preceding weeks/months were always quite brutal on the teams since it was a very important make or break milestone. Will not be missed, even though those milestone will exist for other events.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 7:55 PM on March 14, 2020 [2 favorites]


My industry's biggest expo, a juggernaut that happens every four years in June, was just postponed to 2021. I'm looking forward to calling in on Monday (I'm WFH, of course) to see how the news are received. We were going full steam ahead to launch stuff in June, and now we suddenly have a full year more to develop? I'm guessing we're going to do more radical reshuffling than just renaming the Jira label.
posted by Harald74 at 12:42 AM on March 15, 2020


Until we give up and let the Boomers* fall where they may. I hear the UK is trying this approach to speed things up now.

The guardian has a graphic yesterday that suggested we would not be at peak infection until about 150 days in.
posted by biffa at 5:41 AM on March 15, 2020


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