E3 2017 hosted two days of panels, talks, conversations and more with the world’s biggest game developers and special guests. But does this event really represent the cutting edge of gaming tech? Edgy Labs asks some tough questions.
E3, the “biggest game event of the year” used to be a great place to announce not just new games but also new tech. We argue that E3 2017 didn’t matter in the way that past events have.
Compared to the evolution of the industry as a whole–the value of this event has depreciated significantly (despite the anticipation that surrounds it).
Many people feel there are more effective means of audience engagement and ways to communicate with your target audience.
Was the E3 2017 Booth Price Really Worth the Rising Cost?
E3 has gotten more expensive over time for everybody. Not just for companies and individuals looking for a booth (or floor space), but also for attendees (entry tickets).
Despite being the first E3 ever open to the general public, a three-day pass will cost you almost $1,000 USD.
Many companies have questioned the purpose of bailing out cash to pay for a floor space to demo a VR experience when you could:
1) spend significantly less on a hotel room suite and invite the press. Or,
2) provide release info/updates/engagement directly to your audience via a YouTube channel.
E3 2017 Didn’t Matter for Indie Games
The fact that it cost more than ever for companies to showcase at E3 means that (typically) only the big names like Sony can afford it, and the “little guy” indie studios and developers get shut out.
In an effort to combat this, many indie developers attempt to get showcased by submitting their work to studios like IndieCade.
Indie developers and the general public were both invited to play-test game demos, but this social opportunity comes with a massive potential pitfall:
“This is a huge risk by the industry to expose unfinished code to the enthusiast market,” P.J. McNealy of Digital World Research said in an interview with CNBC. “You’ll have to educate everyone who comes through the door that this isn’t the same code and games you will see that will ship this fall. At one level, you’re meeting the needs of an enthusiast segment of the market, but it comes with risks. … It may be a worst case scenario.”
Despite the eagerness of gamers to attend E3, many audiences really enjoy playing and watching indie games (one of the secrets to YouTube personality “Markiplier’s” success).
The absence of a variety of indie games ultimately makes the event less relevant to actual video game culture.
What Exactly was the Purpose of E3 2017 in the Age of Democratized Information?
Our hyper-connected state largely democratized the process of information sharing–this, of course, includes upcoming game releases.
It used to be that E3 was the place to make game announcements because it was the only centralized location with the right audience to make those kinds of announcements.
However, with the recent boom in YouTube Live streaming, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (to name a few social platforms), brands can communicate directly with the audience.
Because of this, the tone of E3 seems to shifting. Just as Comic-Con has moved from the independent artist and graphic novel sector toward a more brand-integrated approach, E3 appears to be trying to attract indie developers to their monolithic company.
If E3 2017 Didn’t Matter for Some, for Whom did it Matter?
To be sure, a lot of press eyeballs are still trained on the E3 event. Bethesda took full advantage of this when they announced Fallout 4 a few years ago. And now they’ve done it again announcing the VR iteration.
In reality, if you are a brand without a lot of communication or PR and are monolithic, E3 and events like it are a useful tool for controlling the narrative of your releases.
These events give these kinds of corporations a chance to get their message out there and control its reception somewhat.A 3-day general admission pass to E3 2017 cost $995 USD.Click To Tweet
For the casual gamer, there isn’t an overwhelming incentive that outweighs the ticket price. Since the events and gameplay activities are also streamed live–being physically present at the event typically only offers the opportunity to play those demos personally.
Ultimately, it appears E3 is shifting toward becoming a social phenomenon. Just as large corporations create brand loyalty through personal connections on Twitter–E3 provides an arena for one-on-one discussions between both large and small content creation groups.
As we’ve said before, tech events seem to be becoming more like music festivals.