Every year the Electronic Entertainment Expo seems to make a half-hearted attempt at raising the bar, or at least at rectifying its past mistakes. These attempts often fail, as evidenced by this year's lackluster attendance numbers reported by Niko Partners' Senior Analyst Daniel Ahmad. E3 once stood at the zenith of video gaming expos, yet was more intended for industry insiders and publishers rather than the public at large. It's clear a whole rebrand is in order, and like most things E3, their 2020 roadmap has already been leaked across the net via GameDaily.biz.
One thing that might make attendees hesitant to appear at future events is 2019's doxxing incident, wherein a number of different industry insiders and journalists had their personal information leaked online. Over 2,000 participants had their emails, house addresses, phone numbers, and more spread across the net, and while E3 did apologize for the rather unfortunate close of events, it doesn't change the fact that many of these people pretty much had their lives stolen. As Forbes' Paul Tassi asks, "Why should anyone register for E3 again?" It's a challenging question, one that the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) can't wiggle away from as it plans E3 2020 (despite the fact that they certainly hope to).
3 Enhancing E3's Experience
The leaked pitch deck highlights a variety of different angles E3 intends to focus on to enliven their forthcoming events. These new public-over-industry-focused concepts will work off of the extraordinary reception given to Keanu Reeves appearing for Cyberpunk 2077. As the proposed plans relate themselves:
"We're planning to pivot to an event focused on core gamers, online influencers, celebrities, and media with an emphasis on high-flow game pavilions, new programming, and branded curated experiences centered on a theme."
Among a jaw-dropping list of new considerations in mind, E3 is leaning more into literal FOMO than gaming biz. In addition to targeting fans and media influencers, a whole new focal point has been made paramount: celebrity appearances. What better way to draw in a massive crowd than high profile Hollywood names and sports stars? Their goal to implement members of the LA Lakers into the event by way of playing NBA 2K on a stage seems most cringeworthy of them all, and that's even if these Laker players want to come.
The already approved new floor plan also elicits some interesting asides. For one, public access will now near well into 25,000 individuals, whereas previous events only had up to 10,000. The revised area of operation for the show also highlights how they intend on making the event far more streamlined, interpersonal, and gaming-oriented. The ESA is also experimenting with how the show itself operates with paid media partnerships, the likes of which are reminiscent of the CNBC "Tech Impact," which gave them further insight into how to build upon future events.
2 E3's Ended Era
Despite all of this new rebranding, the once staple of video game industry buzz has now merely become a footnote in history. The fact that Sony skipped the past two years of the Expo should be enough to warrant some serious concern if that wasn't already brewing. And the fact that little of the games fans actually want to see make an appearance, for instance, Fable 4, there really is no compelling reason to show up (especially with the advent of YouTube and Twitch as gateways to these events from across the world). Those leaks will also dangle over the Expo's head for years to come, and if all of that wasn't enough, there's also the fact that in this day and age most of the industry inside scoops are provided via the internet, as showcased by PlayStation's State of Play, Nintendo Direct, and Inside Xbox.
On this topic of streaming, E3 should probably turn its attention toward this new raving concept instead of going all "FOMO" with the Expo. Utilizing such platforms as Twitch and YouTube may help to bolster the much-needed fanfare and audience E3 has longed to bear witness to since the bygone days of its past. With only around 66,000 in attendance for 2019, E3 should probably do away with the large crowds, big set pieces, and bombastic stages for a more in-home experience like its more well-received counterparts. Even the likes of Gamescom, for which the forthcoming E3 plans seem to be emulating, was shown via streaming platforms. It shouldn't be about the crowds, media influencers, Hollywood stars, or top-tier athletes. It should be about the games.
We have been waiting for E3 2019 for almost a year and Dino crisis Remaster or Remake or Reboot was not announced after 20 years of waiting , No, thanks not interested in your show anymore...... 🦖— عبدالهادي طاهر يغمور (@YAGHMOURX) July 25, 2019
1 Erasing Exemplified Escapism
E3 no longer understands what it once stood for, unfortunately. The event has evolved into an attention-seeking conglomerate, obsessed with celebrity and trending hashtags. What happened to the actual video games? Gone are the days of sweet new release reveals, like the highly anticipated, yet canceled Star Wars: 1313. There's even a Reddit post under Change My View (CMV) that points to the possibility of little to no publisher appearances at E3 2020, ironic given that the very conception of the Expo was intended for publishers all along.
Though some may contend that E3 is slowly dying, it's obvious now more so than ever that it's already among the dearly departed.