E3, for many gamers, holds a special place in our hearts. It served as the one time of year that we all got together as a community, be it online or off, and shared our joy for a hobby we loved. But as time has moved on, we found other outlets to express our affection towards this hobby. New venues formed such as PAX, focusing more on the experience for fans rather than those who are part of the industry. New communities were built around different aspects of gaming, such as collecting and cosplay, to name only a few. All of these various sub-cultures of gaming has lead to the impressive growth that the industry and overall community has seen in recent years. And in spite of this, E3 has remained as the de facto time of year where all of gaming culture comes together to fawn over what is happening on the horizon.
The video game industry and the communities surrounding it has become too large to place all its excitement and interest into one single event. Just these past few years, we had seen trends that showed companies looking to expand past E3 into new territories to meet these demands. Nintendo made one of the first significant leaps by abandoning their yearly, in-person press conference, in favor of the now-beloved Nintendo Direct. Bringing the news directly to fans and press alike in a digital format that is easy to digest and watch wherever you may be. Other companies, unwilling at the time to make such a dramatic change, looked to expand their announcements and news cycle outside of E3 by creating either smaller, digital-only events, or releasing their news to the press at typically slow times of the year. Eventually, Microsoft and Sony would join Nintendo, hosting their announcements during their own produced digital shows that would air anytime the company needed or determined.
Which brings us to now, where E3 has finally reached its breaking point.
Sony has Sate of Play, Microsoft has Inside Xbox, and Nintendo still has Nintendo Directs. Even smaller companies will host live streams to make some of their more significant announcements for the year, and of course, there is social media. Now—more than ever—is it easier to get your news or information out to the world to be discovered and shared. A quick look at YouTube, a Tweet on Twitter, or even just an image on Instagram and a large amount of a companies followers, target audience, or just the internet as a whole can instantly learn of whatever news there is to digest and share in a snap of a finger. Companies don’t need to hold off sharing their information because there is no need, and fans don’t need to wait because we are all tuned in and can easily find what we are hoping to see.
On the same front, moving away from E3 allows for more choice when announcements can be made. Currently, us fans know that E3 is one of the largest sources of game announcements all year, but it doesn’t need to be that way. We are only wired to think that way out of tradition, not out of necessity. If one of our favorite companies were to simply no longer participate, we would still follow them, just through other channels (such as the ones mentioned above). They could make their schedule, or none at all, and make announcements whenever they felt the need to, and some companies already are. No one besides Nintendo (and those few crafty leakers) knows when a Nintendo Direct is going to be, they just happen on a loose schedule throughout the year. In part, this is what makes them such a treat, Nintendo has set the expectation of what will likely be covered through its past Directs and information provided at the time of the announcement, and we know it usually is a treat. New game announcements are typically made, along with new features for existing titles, and typically a few other surprises no one was expecting. It is mostly the same as an E3 press conference, and yet, it can happen anytime during the year and have the same excitement and interest as a traditional E3 announcement.
There is also less suffering when it comes to announcements compared to an E3 press conference. Companies don’t face the same amount of pressure as they do with a traditional set of announcements at E3 that they do outside of it. We don’t need to listen to Bethesda blather on about how utterly fantastic Elder Scrolls: Blades is (it’s not) to fill up time. There is no set amount of time in a post-E3 world, companies can take as little or as much as they need and us fans can get straight to the information without an extra 30 minutes of fluff. Instead, gamers can enjoy this post-E3 format equally with everyone else.
There is no extra information happening behind the scenes, no additional information you missed because you watched GameSpot’s stream instead of YouTube’s. No, when Inside Xbox, Nintendo Direct, or a State of Play is launched, we are all on the same level playing field learning about the title together. And what if you missed it? No worries, it’s pre-recorded and easy to find as opposed to being buried in a 10-hour live stream.
The fact of the matter is, we don’t need E3. We have moved past it already, and it is time to say goodbye. The days of waiting until June for all the game announcements anyone could hope for are long gone. We have new outlets now that provided us the same information we have come to expect at E3 all in a convenient and time conscious fashion that can be easily digested and enjoyed to all who are interested.
We live in a digital world; we might as well take advantage of it.