For many developers and gaming fans, E3 has been the end all be all for new game announcements and showcases every year for everyone to ogle over. The event has been a mainstay for the gaming industry for over 20 years, seeing thousands of attendees every year attend in person, with even more watching online. Fast forward to today, where we’ve now witnessed the cancellation of not only the in-person event, but all digital events as well. Signaling the death of one of the most established gaming events in history.
E3 2022 Cancelation: What happened?
The Entertainment Software Association, who have been the organizers for the event since the beginning, had already previously stated the event wouldn’t be in person this year “due to the ongoing health risks surrounding COVID-19”.
It wasn’t until last week when they confirmed the cancellation of any digital E3 showcase they had prepared, saying they were devoting “all our energy and resources to delivering a revitalized physical and digital E3 experience next summer”.
With COVID being a valid concern for health and safety reasons, it brings into question, what does this mean for developers who have been preparing to showcase their games?
Game Developers Changed the Culture
While E3 has always been a major event every year, there has been a major change in how gaming announcements and news is delivered to audiences. The advent and popularization of livestreams within the last decade has been the biggest player in this regard. Prior to the late 2000s, any news or videos from the event came delayed, as those attending the event and conferences were the only ones who had first access to the info. Which meant everyone else was keenly tuning into everything the event was putting out.
It wasn’t until the early 2010s when Nintendo decided to reel back their own presence on the show floor as well as discontinue their yearly in person conference. In place of their conference, they started producing pre-recorded presentations that were 1/4 the length of a normal conference, while still containing the same amount of game announcements.
It’s safe to say that these “directs” were quickly revered by everyone who loved the format, opening the doors for a new and easier way to present game announcements. Nintendo was only the beginning for these kinds of presentations as well.
Over the last decade, we’ve seen countless developers follow this path, including the likes of PlayStation, Xbox, Square Enix, and Devolver Digital, just to name a few of the numerous developers and publishers who have adopted this format.
This is clearly where the industry is trending towards, and I don’t blame them. Not only is it simpler, easier, and way more cost efficient to make these pre-recorded videos, but it also saves these companies from the issues and embarrassment that often comes along with putting on a live event.
A Digital Future
Online events like Summer Games Fest have also taken the place of E3 in the wake of COVID ending all in person events, having an abundant number of developers brought together and revealing their games across the whole season. Instead of cramming everyone’s announcements in the span of a weekend, where plenty of developers’ announcements will be overshadowed.
So get ready to see this format of online presentations take hold of the internet for the foreseeable future, as the in person E3 event sadly slowly fades away into obscurity.
Written by Carter Barnes