More Big Game Publishers Skip E3 This Year.

e3The Electric Entertainment Expo or E3 as it is popularly known is facing an existential crisis of sorts. Some of the biggest game publishers in the industry are giving this year’s E3 a skip. The missing names include Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Wargaming and Disney Interactive most of who have always had a very big presence at the show.

The official reason given by companies is that the show does not ‘fit their current direction’ and not much more, however, it is quite easy to speculate as to why they are choosing to miss the biggest game extravaganza of the year.

There used to be a time when E3 was effective enough to reach all the major video game magazines, journalists and industry insiders in one place to provide a big marketing push for upcoming games. Now, however, paying millions of dollars for a physical booth at E3 does not really seem as the best way to spend marketing dollars for a gaming company.

There are popular gamers on Youtube that are directly linked to millions of gamers, and all they need to promote your game, show off demos and basically hype it up are a few thousand dollars and an early demo copy.

Major gaming magazines are struggling to survive, while bigger gaming focused websites are always on the lookout for breaking news, so coverage for the big publishers is all but guaranteed.

Lost in the News Glut 

Another thing that publishers have started fight back against is the constant struggle to one-up each other and eventually get lost in the news glut. This is something similar to what HTC did at this year’s Mobile World Congress when it decided to not show anything major in the same week as Samsung, LG, Xiaomi and other Android manufacturers.

The big console companies themselves offer plenty of opportunities to build up excitement among gamers through free demo releases open to the public. Over the last few years, this has been the route that most publishers have taken.

Consumer facing Shows are gaining popularity

E3 has been an industry-only show since 1995 when it was first held and that seems to be holding it back now. Publishers are keen to get in front of hardcore fans of their franchises and show of exclusive content to them, as in the case of Comic Con.

There are several other conventions that allow game makers to get in front of fans like Tokyo Gaming Convention, PAX and Gamescom. It is likely that the following these shows will increase over time, increasing the headache that E3 has.

E3 organizers have been asked whether they would consider opening their doors to consumers, however, that does not seem to be on the anvil as of now.

The Silver Lining 

Things may be worth contemplating for E3, however, they are not quite dire as of now. All of the major console manufacturers will be holding keynotes and will likely show of the biggest games coming to their platforms.

The shift to virtual reality is also expected to bring forward some exciting new developments, particularly with the PlayStation VR.

All in all, while the show may not have the same level of build up around it, it still has the potential to deliver an exciting event. Future years might not be so kind, though.


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