E3, the largest games show of the year, is getting smaller and smaller by the day. The event used to be where the most important video game developers and publishers would come to make their big announcements about upcoming game releases or gaming hardware. But lately it seems like some companies are deciding that it’s no longer worth the time and effort. EA is the latest company to make that call.
EA announced that it will skipping E3 in favor of EA Play, its own event that will be held June 7-9 at the Hollywood Palladium. That's actually the weekend before E3 officially starts, although the event usually runs press conferences during the weekend, one of which was usually EA’s. This leaves a hole in E3’s press conference schedule, and considering that EA is one of the biggest games companies out there, it’s a pretty massive hole to fill.
On the EA Play website, it's promising that the event will contain “first hands-on with some of our biggest games,” as well as “exclusive content from some of the most popular creators in the world.” Instead of a press conference this year, they’ll be holding live streams for their upcoming games. It also appears that they’ll have some live demos available for people to try on the floor during the weekend.
EA’s departure from the E3 line up is a huge blow to the gaming expo. Sony recently announced that it wouldn’t be showing up this year, which made the internet wonder why one of the big three in the console war would skip the biggest event of the year. Many people are speculating it’s because Sony is about to unveil the Playstation 5, and it doesn't want to announce any games until the console itself is announced. If Sony is going to reveal a new console, it’s also possible that it wants to do it on its own terms. Perhaps at PSX, its own branded event for gaming announcements.
As for who will be at E3 this year, Microsoft and Nintendo have both confirmed that they will be at the event. Although Nintendo hasn’t had a press conference in some time, choosing to instead show its games off in their Nintendo Direct live streams. Ubisoft, Bethesda, and Square Enix are the other major companies that usually show up, although there’s no confirmation whether or not they’ll all be there this year. And then there’s Devolver Digital, who will probably be there for another bug nuts crazy show as usual.
The cultural relevance of E3 is seemingly dipping every year. Developers are moving towards a world where they would rather advertise their games in a safe environment, branded by their own company. This way they don’t need to fight against anyone else for attention and space. Instead the narrative and focus can be on their hottest games, and they don’t need to worry about anyone ignoring them and walking over to the next booth.
If you want to check out EA Play and are going to be in the Los Angeles area, tickets will be available next month. For everyone else, we’ll just have to stay tuned to the internet news ticker when the event goes down this June.