We are fast approaching that superlative time of year where ambition and innate speculation begin to herald the arrival the gaming’s most revered, often exultant media exhibition, E3. A place for studios to arbitrarily postulate half completed projects, with aggressive marketing and capricious advertising that gives consumers a distorted vision of what the game will actually be. Presided over by the smuggest, most insincere chief executives who drivel awkwardly, with meandering proclamations that give far too much insight into a companies laboured achievements rather than be informative and, heaven forbid, entertaining, that could quite reasonably be condensed into anecdotal respite between announcements. Sigh. It’s probably my age, my insatiable lust for cynicism, a combination of the two but to me E3 is a lot of bluster and hyperbole without much substance, unless you call theatrical trailers substance.
Much is being made of Sony’s absence from this year’s event, electing instead to explore new and familiar ways to engage with the community. Which essentially translates too “we’ve got nothing left to show until the PS5” . Perceived as an admission of Sony’s hubris, a need to find bigger shoes to accommodate their inflated feet and resting poor, fatigued laurel, I’m personally very happy about this. Don’t get me wrong I’m very much a purveyor of all things PlayStation, a Sony Pony if you will, but most of their previous conferences have been duller than my Nan’s kitchen curtains. They’ve announced some exceptional content at E3 in the past to be sure, but you still have to tolerate the pedantic waffling that pads out their shows. So does it really matter if Sony aren’t there? Better still, does it matter if any of the big guys aren’t?
Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have long outgrown the platform. With the advent of social media and more importantly streaming they can now facilitate their own identity, separate from a 2 hour-long statistical dumps. Personally an E3 conference is just another incentive to check out each individuals separate announcements on their own sites, not grappling through hours of padding to discover the 5 minute segment that personally interests me. I also believe that E3 could benefit from the absence of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. With the omission of this trios bloated commercial presentations, primary attention could then be imparted to a wide range of independent developers.
E3 could proudly exhibit a varied representation of developers that may not have had the exposure otherwise. Become an institution less concerned with deceptive trailers and fallacious promises manifesting through the corporate hierarchy, and create an environment that engages consumer interest rather than manipulate them. Or maybe don’t invite EA!
Do you still watch E3? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.