I’m not going to get into Coronavirus. It’s complicated. One casualty confirmed was for annual tech and game expo behemoth E3. Developers tweeted cryptic messages to their fanbases, but not so coded that the message was clear. On March 10th it was officially announced that the event will no longer be taking place.
It’s rough for the organizers of E3 because they’ve spent the past few years trying to win back the gaming community at large after several E3s landed with a dusty thud, year after year. This can largely be attributed to Nintendo deciding to pull back on its presence at E3, which began a trend of larger publishers handling product reveals indirect, streamed video events. If you were Nintendo, would you prefer to spend money flying your executives and developers to another country, building elaborate sets to display games, give away swag and everything being a huge company at an expo entails? If the end result is “people buy the game”…couldn’t you just do…this?
In a short video tucked in right at the end, Nintendo’s surprise Smash reveal on March 8th, 2018 Nintendo Direct changed the entire landscape on how games are marketed. That landscape, however, was the foundation on which the large commercial gaming expo was built. Sony and Microsoft soon saw their focus shift to more of an online approach as well. Indy studios have taken a spotlight in recent years, yet often can’t even afford to attend big events.
The question is, can E3 recover after faltering for the past few years with this year’s event being canceled? I’m gonna make myself sound old, but everything’s online now. Could this be the end for what was once one of the biggest and most anticipated annual games show year after year? I’m no expert, but to me, it looks like its leaning that way.