Is E3 losing its significance?

by Tom Hughes Featured 12 Comments 37 Votes 2351 Views 08/06/2012 Back to Articles

As the 2012 edition comes to a close, E3 has again generated plenty of discussion for the immediate future of our beloved hobby. As a gaming enthusiast, though, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of disappointment with the conferences of the Big Three. Whilst we knew Microsoft and Sony were going to be restrained in their approach, something other than a host of novelty features, motion games or sequels would have been very much appreciated.

Microsoft, up first, let loose with a strange mix of sequels to big IP’s, new additions to the dashboard, and ‘Smartglass’. While Halo has been arguably Microsoft’s killer franchise, I have less excitement for the on-stage demonstrations of Madden (and I am a dead-set fan of NFL and the series!), Dance Central 3, Resident Evil 6 (any franchise that reaches six games needs to consider retirement), and Tomb Raider. These last two, especially, are games that made E3 rumble over fifteen years ago. The ‘Smartglass’ feature sounds decent, in theory, but the PS Move and Kinect library has taught me to be skeptical of any new hardware service. Certainly, there is nothing here to blow gamers away, despite the conference being an improvement on previous years.

If I had travelled forward 10 years in time to today, I’d be asking to go back.

Okay, so Sony can make up for that, right? Despite hearing all manner of good things about Sony pre-conference, I was again left unimpressed. Quantic Dream showed Beyond: Two Souls, and if it weren’t for their reputation, I would have little interest in the trailer whatsoever. As it is, the title shows promise, but is it really lead-off material for the biggest gaming event on the calendar? I certainly don’t think so. PlayStation All Stars: Battle Royale will no doubt sell like hotcakes, but there is little contention to it being a poor man’s Super Smash Brothers. Then we have Wonderbook. I cannot understand why anyone thinks that this is a good use of a studio’s resources. It’s different, sure, but it’s lame. It is also the very reason I am skeptical of new services like Smartglass. The Last of Us was one of the more exciting moments, and that was something we have known about for months. I’ll give Sony two intriguing titles, and a couple of nice Vita moments, but again, absolutely nothing to knock our socks off.

Here we go, then. New console, so Nintendo are bound to share some juicy information!

Or not. Instead, we are told there is simply not enough time. And then treated to demonstrations of a new Wii Fit, a Sing title, and a rehashed Arkham City. Are Nintendo actually playing a joke on us? What should have been a glorious day for them instead turned into a conference that was only salvaged by Pikmin 3 and the 3DS titles announced. No, I don’t want to walk through Nintendoland. Please stop.

E3 has turned in to a shambles. It is now a format to try and win over casual fans, with the lack of big announcements, emphasis on motion gaming, and on-stage demonstrations of an extraordinary number of dancing and singing games. This is in stark contrast to the people who actually attend the event, almost all of whom are committed gamers, and have been for decades. Take a look at the games shown when Nintendo announced the GameCube - Luigi’s Mansion, Pikmin, Wave Race: Blue Storm, Super Smash Brothers: Melee, and Super Monkey Ball were all on show. If I had travelled forward 10 years in time to today, I’d be asking to go back.

The conferences of recent years have been marred by some terrible scripting, over-enthusiasm at terrible projects, and on-stage demonstrations that clearly show whoever is in charge of the control, has spent nowhere near enough time with the game. While that trend was bucked this year, another was only reinforced. It is becoming more and more apparent that games launched at E3 are released 2 to 3 years later, and this makes the conference seem so damn irrelevant to everyone watching worldwide. I’m sure being there in person, and being able to play through some of these games alleviates this somewhat, but E3 is bigger than that now, and it needs to be treated as a bigger event by those with a presence there.

The Big Three, in particular, need to pick up their acts. If I had only the use of three fingers, I would still be able to count on one hand the number of announcements that excited me. The cynic in me thinks that unless there is a marked improvement in the conferences over the next few years, a lot of the long-time gamers will give it all up.

I know I will.

By Tom Hughes - Bio

What were your thoughts on the 2012 E3 convention? Do you feel it is in decline? Let us know in the comments!

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It is becoming more and more apparent that games launched at E3 are released 2 to 3 years later


But people are hating on Nintendo for doing the opposite and not showing anything past early 2013 titles.

Blob said:

It is becoming more and more apparent that games launched at E3 are released 2 to 3 years later


But people are hating on Nintendo for doing the opposite and not showing anything past early 2013 titles.

I have not met nor seen said people but if I did, I would slap them.
It is an annual conference, as such it should be used to show games coming within the next year. I get that games have longer development cycles now but it seems silly to try and generate hype 24 months out from release.
I make an exception for consoles, but these are generally 15-18 months from release anyway, not 3 years.
I didn't read the article, but yes. It's now becoming a trading show to show off what you have ready for the next 6 months/year. It's sad, but it seems like it will stay that way.
Nothing more "Facepalm worthy" that Usher stand infront of a pink/purple xbox sign [Facepalm]

Only thing is missing is justin bieber infront of nitendo land [sick]
I think the biggest problem with their current strategy is that these casuals they're targeting will completely forget about the games shown off in a matter of weeks. There's a reason games like Just Dance and Call of Duty have such massive advertising campaigns. In other words, that time they used up at E3 is completely worthless.

The games I'm actually excited for are The Amazing Spiderman and Heroes of Ruin, specifically because they're coming out now. Everything else is pushed to the back burner, because just thinking about Crysis 3 or Watch Dogs is going to drive me crazy. It puts the games on my radar, but then I force myself to forget about the games for the next couple months. [monkey]
1.No more dancing, rapping or embarrassing scripted "jokes". Nobody wants them, nobody likes them.
2.Save the casual garbage for the casuals, retarded looking families from kinect promos don't watch E3, show it at the idiot festival or whatnot.
3.Games, show games. Games at a game conference, brilliant.

But they won't, it'll be worse every year.
Am I the only one who loves the embarassing, cringe-worthy moments?

Pilkingbod said: Am I the only one who loves the embarassing, cringe-worthy moments?

I get a good kick out of them, it makes E3 enjoyable for me either way. It turns out to be good, then that's good for me, but if not I still get a good laugh out of the conferences.

W84NO1 said:Only thing is missing is justin bieber infront of nitendo land

Never say never :P
It's the pre-E3 shows that kills the conferences.

No Gears or God of War being 'pre-revealed' or the Nintendo Direct event happening before the presser and they would have been much better.
I don't think so. It'll reclaim that glory, but people should remember that E3 is a trade show, not a consumer show. The obligation I think in the case of E3 is to shareholders, so companies need to approach it conservatively or openly depending on the market. Sony needed a big showing off the back of its lowest share price in like 30 years, and it had that. Didn't blow us away, but appeased the market.

Industry is also slowing down because of diminishing financial confidence around the globe, and Sony, MS both saw Wii U and probably didn't see reason to reveal new hardware before the peak period Sep-Nov, and before events like GamesCom and TGS. I'd expect TGS to be big this year because of its proximity to Q4 2012 and Wii U's release. E3 will be massive next year with new Sony, MS hardware.
It's the biggest game show of the year. And as such the one that gets most mainstream media coverage. That's why there so much focus on casual crap that gamers don't really care about. I think E3 is no longer as relevant to gamers. More and more info that gamers actually want is being held back for other game shows. Sony has Vita heaven soon and Nintendo will have their own Direct telecasts as well. Add to this the fact that so many announcements get leaked online before the show. E3 just doesn't seem exciting anymore.
The bigger it gets the more seriously it is taken. This creates a downward spiral of obscurity filled with more gimmicks, sequels and crap that makes you just want to forget it all and buy a good old indie game.

Plus Usher has not been good since confessions.

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