e3 Press Conferences are outdated

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Every year during E3 week, video game publishers talk about the games they’re planning to release in the next couple of years (or, sometime in the next decade at least…). It’s an exciting time to be a gamer, as we learn about the worlds we will be inhabiting.

A host of companies hold live presentations to reveal the latest games, and the bevy of gaming media across the globe grade these companies on how well the presentations went. (Hey, we’ve got coverage of every conference here at PSVG. Subscribe to the podcast feed!)

But we spend too much time talking about how the presenters did. Was there enough gameplay? Were there enough surprises? Too much time on mobile games? Why’d they waste so much time on live music and YouTube personalities!?

The thing is, the world and how we consume media have changed greatly since the first Electronics Entertainment Expo more than two decades ago. Gaming itself has broken into the mainstream, with millions of people watching and playing games all over the world. More people watch eSports. More than 100 million people watch the largest League of Legends tournaments online.

Many hardcore gamers get their gaming news straight from the source — the Playstation Blog debuts games on a near-daily basis. YouTube personalities play a role in showing off developers’ hard work.

And, yet…we sit and watch as EA, Microsoft, Bethesda, Devolver, Ubisoft, Square Enix and PlayStation get up on stages and talk about games. Everything between gameplay is derided as pointless, unless you have a charismatic person like Todd Howard who doesn’t fully rely on a teleprompter.

The information revealed in these staid presentations could easily be included in standard press releases, accompanied by videos. Nintendo’s Directs have this flavor, but the idea could easily be adapted to fit each company’s corporate flavor. This year’s Direct was fantastic, with about 20 minutes of fast-hitting trailers and announcements, followed by a 25-minute deep dive into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

The best part of E3 — for me — is in perusing through the deluge of news and picking out what I’m interested in learning more about. The coverage that mainstream sites like IGN, Kinda Funny, Polygon and more put up throughout the event is worth far more than the presentations themselves. PlayStation and Nintendo’s livestreams are far more interesting and informative than the presentations.

I’m not calling for an end to E3 itself, but instead a reimagining of how the information is released. It can cost less, take less time and be for efficient, all while still stoking conversation and getting gamers excited.

There is plenty to be excited about, as well. Personally, I’m super excited for Fallout 76, StarLink, Anthem, Spider-Man, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and more. But I don’t need to watch hour-long “conferences” to stoke the fire of excitement. I need informative gameplay sessions with insightful commentary and interviews.

These are the views of the author, and not PSVG as a whole.

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