Is E3 Still Relevant?

GamesIndustry International asks if gaming's greatest spectacle can change with the industry

Another year, another cramped convention centre in Los Angeles playing host to the console business and its hangers on. It's loud, it's over-the-top, but does it still speak for the games industry as we know it in 2012? Is it a stubborn throwback to the days when consoles ruled the Earth, a show that reluctantly acknowledges the growth in mobile, tablet and online gaming but makes no bones about the preference for a publisher pissing contest? Or is it a show slowly changing with the times, like the creaking console businesses gradually facing a digital, portable future?

The E3 spectacle reverberates through the games business in June every year, but is it still representative and relevant to an industry that has changed almost entirely since the start of the current console cycle? Here, in our latest roundtable, GamesIndustry International's writers drape press passes over their shoulders and wade through the halls of the LA Convention Centre…

James Brightman

"E3 is beginning to feel a bit like a dinosaur, a relic of a past golden age"

James Brightman

The games industry has changed dramatically since the first E3 Expo in 1995, put together by the Interactive Digital Software Association (now the Entertainment Software Association). Why, then, hasn't the annual trade fair evolved with it? The world of consoles isn't the only game in town in 2012, and yet only a handful of exhibitors at E3 are purely social/mobile focused. Truth be told, E3 is beginning to feel a bit like a dinosaur, a relic of a past golden age.

That's not to say that consoles are dead, and that E3 is fundamentally useless. E3 still serves its purpose as the grand spectacle that it is, drawing huge attention to the industry for a few days each year, and preparing journalists, retailers and retail buyers for the upcoming holiday season. But the fact is that it's misrepresenting what the games industry actually is today. Whereas GDC appears to be broadening its scope and shining a spotlight on social and mobile companies, E3 almost seems to be doing the opposite. Like an ostrich with its head plunged into the sand, the ESA seems oblivious to this.

David Radd


The painful on-stage scripted banter is enough to make you cringe yourself inside out.

E3 is still a very important event to the AAA gaming industry. When it was running in a diminished form for a couple of years, it left a hole where a lot of positive mainstream media coverage usually emerged from. Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft benefit hugely from the attention on their press conferences and it's still the best place for people in the games industry to meet and hash out business.

However, E3 has not done a good job of representing the entirety of what gaming is these days. Indie, mobile and social titles are hugely underrepresented. Also, the importance of the event has been diminished by major publishers making announcements at other times of the year. Since they no longer have to represent themselves to a large number of buyers (the true reason E3 was created) they show off games on their own timetable and often at their own events. Finally, other major industry events, sort of "mini-E3s" have stolen some of the thunder of E3 (like Gamescom, Tokyo Game Show, PAX and the Eurogamer Expo) allowing publishers to have multiple touchpoints with consumers and not try to cram all their major announcements in one week in June.

E3 still represents a part of the gaming market worth billions of dollars, and it's value in the intangibles for that part of the industry is such that it will likely still occur for the rest of the decade. However, the event faces obsolescence if it doesn't include much more than the largest, most expensive titles in an industry about so much more than retail these days.

Ben Strauss

I'm still iffy on why there seems to be continued discussion on the 'end of E3' as we know it. The lineup this year from all three big publishers, all three manufacturers and a goodly amount of PC and mobile developers look pretty darn impressive. I mean sure, the landscape is continuing to change, but for companies to blow off E3? That's for Valve and Blizzard to do. For everyone else, this is the Super Bowl (and Valve and Blizzard only show up when they intend to steal the show).

E3 is just going to see old hands leave and new talent come in, and on different platforms. More attention will eventually be paid to mobile titles, less (if any) attention to an utterly useless middle-market. This isn't about a drastic change - this is about ebb and flow. This talk comes up at the end of each generation it seems, and I don't see this being another early '80s scenario for gaming. Next year will more than likely kill any of this discussion.

Steve Peterson

The answer is contained within the question; once you find it necessary to ask if E3 is still relevant, it is apparent that it's not as relevant as it was. More precisely, E3 is both more relevant and less relevant than it once was.

E3 is more relevant to publishers of console games, who are facing the fourth year of a declining market and the most perilous hardware transition in 20+ years. E3 is their best chance to draw attention to their products and boost their company image to the mainstream media; it's the one event of the year where mainstream media really pays attention to games. Each publisher will work hard to get a larger share in a shrinking pond, while wondering if new consoles will bring in more customers or just the current ones.

"E3 is a red carpet for the big three platform holders and other publishers to strut their stuff and give the community an idea of where the year is headed"

Mike Williams

E3 is less relevant in the expanded view of the gaming industry, which now includes the fast-growing areas of mobile, social, online, streamed games, and a variety new business models, including free-to-play, virtual goods, subscription, ad-supported and others. Digitally distributed content will outstrip physical content in revenue in the near future. There are billion-dollar game companies who don't even care what happens at E3, since it doesn't affect their part of the game business.

Mike Williams

E3 is still relevant. It stands as a monument to pomp and circumstance for the industry, and a red carpet for the big three platform holders and other publishers to strut their stuff and give the community an idea of where the year is headed.

Is the show slow to change? Of course, but so are other large events. GDC Online, focused primarily on mobile and social titles, only started in 2010. Even the consumer-focused PAX just recently started to have a considerable indie game presence. The events will shift with the landscape. I don't think there will ever be a significant social presence at the show, but that's just because there's no ramping hype for those games. E3 is all about the pre-release hype.


The Saint's Row bikini car wash. A high lowbrow point of E3 2011.

Certain studios like Valve and Blizzard will continue to skip the show. Some European developers will focus their efforts on Gamescom or Eurogamer Expo, like many Japanese developers already do with Tokyo Game Show. Mobile platform holders like Apple and Google will continue to do their own thing.

It's an ongoing evolution and I think E3 will stay in its place as long as Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft are running the console show. So we'll see where this new generation of consoles takes us before calling for the death of their biggest showcase.

John Benyamine

I go to two shows every year: E3 and the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. After doing this for over a decade, I always arrive at the same conclusions.

GDC is the games industry's barometer. It is a way to measure what's hot in gaming right now, and where we see the industry headed in the next year or two. In the past few years, attending the show and listening in on key sessions and lectures foretold the rise of mobile and social gaming, the risks involved in big budget console titles, and the increasing influence of the independent gaming scene.

On the other hand, E3 gives me a sense of the bullishness and attitude of the video game companies that make up the vast majority of the show floor. Unfortunately, the value of that analysis seems dampened by hollow stories about booth babes being banned from the show, moving to a small venue in an airport hangar in Santa Monica, or show booth oneupsmanship displayed in the swarming South Hall.

"As Gree continues its expansion, is it so inconceivable that it could be the biggest booth at E3 within the next couple of years?"

Dan Pearson

In recent years, publishers have reacted with an increasing number of pre-E3 events reminiscent of an insultingly-long pre-game show before the big football match. This is a necessary use of everyone's time as now anyone with a passing connection to the word "game" is given access to the crowded show floor where games struggle to capture center stage.

At the end of over a decade of covering the show, I still love E3 for its over-the-top pomp and Vegas-like thrills, and I'll go every year they put it on. Unfortunately, it doesn't make up for the fact that the show is just a great after-party to the press events that happen earlier in the week.

Dan Pearson

I think that, like the console business and many of the major publishers themselves, E3 has shown all the signs of classic 'supertanker syndrome'. Vast, expensive and highly specialised, E3 has taken too long to redirect its course, allowing more nimble competitors like Gamescom to steal a march on markets like mobile and social.

The show obviously has a hugely symbiotic relationship with AAA development. As Mike points out, E3 is a circus, a parade day for the huge marketing budgets of the platform holders and the likes of Activision, EA and Ubisoft to wow and dazzle audiences and buyers, and to get their names and products a spot on the evening news without having the word "shooting" attached.


Real journalists don't have time to run around the show floor Hoovering up free tat.

It does this brilliantly. I don't know of any games journalist who doesn't experience at least a little shiver of anticipation when watching the platform holders' presentations. Rumours are confirmed or obliterated in those brief hours, games announced, headlines written. Years with hardware reveals generate insane amounts of copy, even when those announcements leave everyone a little bemused. Every year, it's the most fact-intensive period in any game journo's calendar. It's exhausting, even when you're covering it remotely.

Despite all that, the gaps in E3's remit are beginning to show. For what is still essentially a trade show, powered by and run for the areas of the industry which are making money, E3 has a shocking lack of social and mobile coverage. That's partly because those industries haven't fully engaged with these events yet, but they're certainly starting to.

Earlier this year, Yoshikazu Tanaka, CEO of Japanese social/mobile behemoth Gree, told me that his company had the largest stand at TGS, a smaller and less glitzy show than E3, but one which has historically been similarly focused on AAA console development. As Gree continues its expansion Westwards, acquiring companies and talent at an incredible rate, is it so inconceivable that it could be the biggest booth at E3 within the next couple of years?

Rachel Weber

Full disclosure, I've never actually been to E3. I've watched others pack up their dictaphones and notebooks and tweet about the plane food, but I've always been back in the office with a take away and a can of Red Bull watching the live streams of conferences, or filtering the news from the million website and blogs. And I've never felt like I've missed anything from a press point of view. Any of the big announcements will be broadcast live to the world, some of that might even get leaked before anyone has even checked into their LA hotel room. E3 is a reflection of its triple-A subject matter, big, expensive, and slow to react.

"E3 is a spring break party populated by fresh-faced fanboys and an old boys' network. It's the least exciting part of the industry with the loudest voice"

Matt Martin

It's just not like the old days when you actually had to be there, with your (snigger) pen and paper, filing copy the next day. As for big interviews, most of the big publishers will now happily set up interviews a few weeks before, send over screenshots, videos, then just stamp them when a big fat embargo. They get their coverage, and the VIP gets to actually leave the booth to eat, pee, maybe even sleep. THQ aren't spending $1 million on a booth this year, but a UK showcase last week means they won't be short on game coverage.

The real value of those shows is now, and perhaps always was, what business people like to call Face Time. For journalists it's getting drunk with someone at an after party and hearing secrets you shouldn't, getting the gossip from bored PRs at the booth. Getting that tired studio head when he's just bored enough of regurgitating press releases to actually say something he shouldn't. For developers and publishers it's much the same, meeting and greeting, being seen at the show, showing shareholders that "WE'RE FINE, EVERYTHING IS FINE! LOOK AT OUR GIANT STAND."

Is that worth millions of dollars to publishers? The floorplan says yes for now, but with an industry that's more and more about indie developers, more and more about dealing directly with consumers, and faced with a playground of events such as GDC, Tokyo Game Show, Gamescom, PAX and the Eurogamer Expo, the old circus really needs to up its game to justify its ticket price.

Matt Martin

I love the spectacle and ridiculousness of it all, from the booth babes to the booming systems, and I think it's absolutely vital that the games industry uses a whole week to stand up and shout about itself as loudly as possible. But I also know E3 isn't really what the games business has been about for some time. This is the week when the rest of the entertainment and tech industries are really paying attention, and E3 should be the chance for the industry to celebrate what it is, thump its chest and be proud of its achievements.


Activision's party at the Staples Centre in 2010 costs tens of millions, pulling bands like NERD and Soundgarden out of retirement.

E3 doesn't represent the games industry anymore, or at least it doesn't represent the most exciting parts of the business - the growth, the new attitudes, the evolution. Console software and hardware is tired, limping along with incremental updates. Games are a rehash, services are ubiquitous. E3 is preaching to the converted. Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft and the third party publishers are telling their peers how important they are while those embracing the new games economy - mobile, social, digital - are talking to an entirely new audience of consumers and businesses that are inspired and receptive to new forms of entertainment and delivery.

E3 is a spring break party populated by fresh-faced fanboys and an old boys' network. It's the least exciting part of the industry with the loudest voice. It's still a good party, but that's one hell of a bar bill to wake up to. And if you're just watching Los Angeles for new console announcements and sequels to a favourite game, you're missing out on the progression towards an entirely new games industry growing across the globe.

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Latest comments (31)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 6 years ago
Gaming is rapidly moving away from core to becoming mass market.
Many ex consoles gamers now get their fun far more cheaply and far more conveniently on tablet or smartphone.
One billion Angry Birds downloads says it all really.

So if E3 addresses the mass market it remains relevant, if it doesn't then it has lost relevancy.

The automobile world supports several massive motor shows, which are mass market, so E3 has a chance.
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A E3 showing angry birds probably isnt exciting. A Develop EVOLVE is more relevant interestingly ernough
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Jonathan McEnroe Freelance 2D artist 6 years ago
Short answer yes, long answer yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees.

In all seriousness, yes, I think it's still relevant, there is so much anticipation on the lead up to E3. It's something for gamers to look forward to every year.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.6 years ago
Mike Williams nailed it why mobile and social games don't have a large role at E3. No hype. Mobile and social games do not generate the same pre-release hype and media coverage that console games do. If they did, Kentia Hall would be filled with mobile and social media booths. Then as their hype picked up, they'd move in to the bigger halls.

But E3 is still relevant because you don't go to E3 for mobile and social game any more than you go to Manhattan for quiet solitude.
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 6 years ago
@ Bruce: Mass market doesn't exclude stationary consoles or even the PC.

Secondly, the mass market doesn't care about any events like this in any market in any country. They only care when the marketing hits the bus stops and TV spots.

E3 is a specialist event. It's relevant as long as there is a niche for it.

And just in case you mention it in rebuttal. Those motor shows really aren't mass market. They're all on the scale of "motorheads". I don't know a single person who just views a car as a means of transport ever go to those events. Maybe it's just my anecdotal experience but maybe it's not. Never saw anyone at a camera event (like the one in Birmingham) that didn't spend an unusal amount of time obsessing over cameras or pictures etc.... It's mainly that the market for car appreciation is much larger than most. However, they're still all just car nerds.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by James Prendergast on 24th May 2012 5:21pm

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Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 6 years ago
As a gamer, but also a game designer, Im always looking forward to see what coming up during E3.
This is like christmas for the game industry.

Basicaly, Im expecting to get excited about new technology and upcoming new franchise. As Chee Ming Wong said, showing game like Angry birds won't get my attention. This is nothing but a cool game to play casualy.
Wont wait for such games, just play it if I got an opportunity.

E3 is all about teasing for me.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd6 years ago
@ Bruce That's not really true. Enthusiast shows are popular in every industry, and still incredibly relevant.

In fact, the markets you're talking about don't seek information on those games. There are a few major mobile game sites that deal with iOS and Android gaming, but their traffic is much smaller than the "core" game sites, and there is almost no variety to those sites. For example, Touch Arcade is really the only major iOS gaming site. No matter what other outlets publish on the subject (and believe me many try) the traffic to those articles is tiny.

The problem those social and mobile industries have is the consumers don't REALLY care about them. They're convenience purchases. No one gets excited enough to look up the next big facebook game. There wasn't a media storm behind Draw Something or even really Angry Birds Space, no matter how much Rovio tried to create one. Those games become successful because they exist and are cheap and are at least moderately entertaining. Then people move on to whatever else they happen to stumble on at the top of the App Store or Android Market, or alternatively whatever their friends are spamming to them with on Facebook.

My point is, E3 is a marketing event for a portion of the industry that is directly affected by marketing, which mobile and social games aren't at all. They sell because they exist and are cheap and are accessible by almost anyone. E3 is for a specific section of enthusiast media, and regardless of how many other markets pop up E3 is and will continue to be incredibly relevant to the games that address that core market.

Changing E3 to include more of these games which people literally don't care about would only water down the effect of its marketing strength to those that do care enough about the medium to follow it. There may be a space in the industry for a mobile and social games convention, but it's not E3, nor will it be as large or effective a marketing tool as E3. Adding major focus to those games would not only fail to increase E3's relevance, but actually reduce it.
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Ben Furneaux Principal Designer 6 years ago
I think E3 is still relevant, but I don't think it's representative of the entire, ever-broadening games industry anymore.

I don't think E3 needs to be the place where games for emerging audiences reach out either. It would be great if someone proposed an equivalent, I'd be interested to see if it works.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd6 years ago
Exactly Ben. Representative and relevant are not the same thing. It doesn't need to be representative, and should not be.
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Funny thing, I thought about dinosaurs as well as one of the writers. E3's roots are in retail business and that's more and more thing of the past. I bet it will change albeit slowly.

As for mobile games, it was surprising to me how short the time window for marketing really is. With PC and console games it's easily months, half a year, for average game. With mobile games, it seems that both media's covering mobile and the consumers have much shorter concentration span. We're talking about days, weeks on most. Mobile game has to be already released when you make your main marketing push. If consumers read about or see a mobile game they like, they want to get it right away. If it's not available at that time, something else is.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kim Soares on 24th May 2012 5:44pm

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Of course, lets knock the nail on the head whereby, Bruce is suggesting E3 become more populist and inclusive of the mobile space. Well, you know Gree bizarrely is bringing mobile games in its booths.

BUT, my heart is overall sold to core games. Its exciting. sure its flashy but cmon. its great! it doesnt have all the diluted stylised populist aspects that caters to a different market, with non opposable thumbs requiring swipey motions.

Although, to finish off - I am of two minds about kinect/move.
Would playing Diablo 3 with kinect make it awesome?
Would rampaging through the stylised World of Warcraft on the IOS be fun with swiping motions...
Would playing a RTS like Total War be good on the Move.

Sometimes, the mighty mouse is enough
And if they only ever made ONE singular great core title a year, that will keep me happy. Afterall, one can play games like Civilization V again and again and again..

To each their own, E3 can still bring out the best with quality over quantity

NB: 2011 was a insanely bloated game year
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Gareth Donaghey Customer Support Agent, Blizzard Entertainment6 years ago
E3 is more about the PR fails than the PR woahs these days.

Think about it, can you think of any memorable E3 moments that weren't cheesy, fakey, or hokey?
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DeShaun Zollicoffer Editorial Director, Geek Revolt6 years ago
Rachel's post really stuck out to me. I'm invited to E3 2012, but I'm starting to wonder--in this age of leaks, online streaming, and a million previews, why go to the event? For 10 minutes of hands on time with a few games? Just seems like a waste, and it really is just one big party. Still, I'm going just to represent my site.

Now about those social games, like the one person said -- they have no hype. Most of those games are just released when they're ready, and then they either become popular or fade into obscurity. Games like FarmVille and Angry Birds (the original) only gained attention once they were released.
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I thin Social/Casual games probably work best when they are ready to release in the wild, and that the digital/social feeds are probably the best cost effective way to drum up interest vs expo time. They dont even need TV airtime!
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Fred Schmidt CEO, Portalarium6 years ago
GREAT discussion, GI Team!

Five years ago I was head of Marketing and Strategic Development for NCsoft North America. Our company's E3 presence was part of my responsibilities and my budget ws $5M for those 3 days.

As perhaps THE person dubiously "credited" with helping to expedite the demise of E3 in 2006 by pushing every show rule and hot button I could -- I was PERSONALLY fined $5,000 by the ESA for my grave "infractions" of sound, skin and fun in our large E3 stand.

That summer, as ESA pulled the plus on it's E3 show, I wrote a brief white paper outlining exactly how to reinvent this show to make it: 1) relevant, 2) all-encompassing of the ENTIRE consumer games industry, 3) the biggest, most important game industry show in the world (seeing the rise of TGS, G-Star, China Joy and then-Leipzig, now Gamescom).

In brief, my proposal was to move the whole shebang to Las Vegas. Make it a full week long - 3 days for trade, 3 days for consumer, with a 1 day changeover in the middle. Welcome, iinclude and celebrate the ENTIRE games industry -- from board games, pen & pencil, card and LAN parties .. right through all console and handheld, PC, mobile, social, and whatever will be invented next year! Warmly invite fan/community/blog site managers, together with global press and other industry tastemakers and opinion leaders, plus the business teams for the trade days. Then send the suits home while the stand is being converted, the equipment bolted down and the schwag rolled in, and replace them as a bonus for hard-working frontline CS/community teams and get ready for 3 more days of 24/7 rock-n-roll gaming people! In fact, I suggested bringing in an expert massive consumer events team like Austin's C3 Presents (Austim City Limits Music Festival, Lollapalooza, Obama Inauguration) to plan, stage and run this wonderful circus for upwards of 250,000 attendees over the week! And charge concert-festival ticket pricing ($100 to $250) for badged consumer participation! Passionate gamers from all over the world would pre-signup a year in advance to nab those tickets for all-access to all the fun! Seriously.

As can be evidenced here some 5 years later, my proposal fell on deaf ears. And it was made directly to (then newly arriving) ESA CEO, Mike Gallagher, from my exec perch at NCsoft, an ESA member and one of his largest exhibitors.

The inability for E3 to reinvent itself for the times is grounded in: 1) A governing board of only old-school game companies who can pay the high price of admission and who refuse to change themselves, 2) ESA management who doesn't want to rock the boat and cannot seem to lead the herd in a new direction, and 3) as E3 show management company that is deathly afraid of booth babes, loud music, large crowds, complex multiple event venues, etc. and thus the wrong team for the grand future job than, say, a giant rock festival/events team that can recognize our games industry as finally having arrived at the forefront of mainstream consumer entertainment which we have been working toward for some 40 years now!

My NCsoft corporate CEO told me when handing over the $5M budget to produce an E3 presence for his little-known-then (outside of Korea) MMO game company that would put them on the global map in a really BIG way: "E3 is the MOST important showcase for us in the world. Make us visible and make us proud."

Without the massive global BRANDING opportunity that is E3 -- to really showoff our products, our attitudes, our personality as innovative companies in a highly creative and competitive industry -- achieving the goal for our CEO would have been near impossible.
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For the best game event in the world, I reckon the GDCE/Gamescom week long event is currently the best inclusive event.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd6 years ago
I think there's a huge place for more consumer accessible shows like Gamescom and PAX. I'm saying E3 is a marketing show, and as a marketing show it's best focused on games that hugely benefit from early hype and flashy announcements. E3's a powerful tool for many. The COD4 reveal back in the day helped make that franchise what it is. That doesn't mean it's the RIGHT tool for everyone. This industry is far too large at this point to try to cram everything into one show and give anyone even a modest amount of attention.
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John Hardin Sr. Account Exec, Wonacott Communications6 years ago
E3's relevancy for publishers is still directly tied to the brick-and-mortar retail channels for the video games industry. For as long as games exist in boxes on store shelves, E3 will have a place in the industry. But as soon as digital distribution surpasses retail sales for consoles, the marketing budgets that fuel the show will no longer be there. The good news – in this future where the bloat and excess of the current E3 gets cut out, social, mobile and independent games will get the forum they deserve.

Also, this is the most accurate and succinct description of E3 ever written:
E3 is a spring break party populated by fresh-faced fanboys and an old boys' network. It's the least exciting part of the industry with the loudest voice. It's still a good party, but that's one hell of a bar bill to wake up to.
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Kevin Patterson musician 6 years ago
It's still relevant as it's almost a gamer holiday for the core gamer. While I enjoy casual, mobile, and social games from time to time, E3 isn't for that type of game. E3 is a spectacle for the core gamer to get them excited for what is to come.

Unfortunately, I think Microsoft and Nintendo forget it's a core gamer event. Casual, mobile and social gamers don't even know what E3 is, yet this generation we have had pandering to that crowd. No core gamer that I know wants to see things like kids on stage playing Kinect, yet MS gives us this.
No core gamer I know wanted to see Cirque Du Solei introduce Kinect with Mime, yet MS gave us that.

Sometimes I wonder if these companies really understand what E3 is and what gamers want...... All we want is games, hardware, and reasons to be excited for the next year. We don't need cute kids acting to a video, we don't need french clowns, it's about the games, please keep it about the games.
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Carl Hudson Studying Computer Science, University of Adelaide6 years ago
I wonder if we'd be having this discussion if it was May 2013..
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 6 years ago
@Kevin... Not only do they forget what core gamers want - they forget who's watching. i.e. NOT casual, mass market gamers :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Prendergast on 24th May 2012 8:25pm

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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd6 years ago
@ James and Kevin

While both of those companies talk about games like Dance Central and Wii Fit, the vast majority of their conferences are spent on core games. I think you could argue that Nintendo lost E3's audience 4 years ago when they had very little for that market, but these days E3 is filled with core games for them.
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 6 years ago
@Nicholas - it's a fair point and sort of not one that I was making. IIRC, last year's E3 events from MS and Sony had them concentrate on the "casual" games and kinect/Move with a quick show reel of some upcoming "core" games. Most of the "core" content was provided and shown by third parties - though there was probably some extra funding available from the big three (though more likely the relevant publisher) in some form but obviously I'm not privvy to those sorts of agreements.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 6 years ago
I dont know, much like reports that claim (or crave) console doom, alot of reports do the same for E3. To me its the biggest event of the year in the gaming industry. The only thing Id like to see is award ceremony's and shit. So it can be something like the oscars or the grammys. But Anyway, I got off topic. All i want to say its probably the one event I anticipate more than any other.

Seriously, most people that play Angry Birds, dont play games. Alot of times its the only game they play. Its easy to have 1 billion downloads when the game is either very cheap or given away. So i really would compare it to console games geared towards the core gamer. Besides it only sells more because most people own a phone. And people own a phone cause its an utility for communication. I doubt people own a phone to play angry birds.

Anyway, off topic again. E3 is really the most anticipated videogaming event of the year for me, followed by Tokyo game Show and GDC. Hell I anticipate E3 more then the Oscars, Grammies or MTV music awards. Fuck... I love E3 and yes its still relevant. At least to me, because I love games, console games...
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D6 years ago
Bruce wheels out his usual "consoles are dead, it's all mobile now". Come on Bruce, give it a rest.

I'm not sure there's much of a need for E3 anymore.
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Will Wilson Web & Community Manager, NaturalMotion6 years ago
"For example, Touch Arcade is really the only major iOS gaming site."

Hardly. They're the biggest, but both Pocket Gamer and 148apps get a good sized audience.

On topic (as far as one direction of the thread goes) - you won't see mobile companies buying up large booths or dominating massive events like E3 any time soon - it's plain economics. You don't spend as much making or marketing a mobile game, and - as has already been pointed out - a lot of devs/pubs keep their titles close to their chest until release (no doubt thanks to Apple saying they shouldn't market a title before it hits market, which is silly).
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Ben Furneaux Principal Designer 6 years ago

"Its easy to have 1 billion downloads when the game is either very cheap or given away."

I didn't realise it was that easy — can't wait to get a billion downloads on my new 59p game. Wheeeeee! I'm going to be a millionaire!
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd6 years ago
@ Will fair enough, there are a couple medium sized sites out there, but the point is that the mobile audience only goes to a small handful of sites, and even those track far less traffic than the two dozen top core gaming sites. I'm saying that there's a BIG difference in the average audience. There are some people who go to sites like yours or Touch Arcade because they're just really into mobile games, but there are a lot less, despite the larger overall audience, than go to core gaming sites for information.

This difference in audience makes E3 an inappropriate event for mobile (and social) game advertising. There is probably a market for a conference for those games, but it's again not going to have the marketing power because of the nature of the average player.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 6 years ago
@ Ben

Well let me refrase... If your gonna sell a billion copies of a game, its easier to do if you give it away for cheap or free, than if you sold it at 60$.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 6 years ago
Question: Is E3 still relevant?
"A booth schedule sent out today by Twitch TV reveals that EA is showing off Need for Speed: Most Wanted at E3. While EA previously confirmed that a new Need For Speed is on the way, this is the first time its title has been confirmed.

According to the schedule, EA will be showcasing Need for Speed: Most Wanted alongside its new Battlefield 3 DLC."
"Hoping for a Half-Life 3 reveal at E3? Keep dreaming. Valve said it has no announcements planned this coming June."
"An inside source close to the folks here at Techtroid has suggested we may be seeing a Star Fox reveal at E3 this year, along with the already announced Pikmin and Mario games."
From a consumer point-of-view? Obviously E3 is still relevant. It is Christmas and Birthday rolled into one. When the magical-hype machine collides with awesome tech and PR, and gives consumers a peek at what's coming, via the games press.

From a publisher point of view, I'd still say it's relevant, yes, precisely for the above reason. It's a way for the publishers to out titles and create publicity (and maybe good word of mouth) for games. Does it matter that mobile isn't represented? No, I don't believe so - I agree with the commenters who say that mobile games aren't something people get excited about. People may play Draw Something and enjoy it a lot, but I don't know anyone who's wanting a hype-machine for a possible sequel.

Perhaps gaming could learn from the comics industry, which has the massive San Diego Comic-Con, as well as smaller comics conventions?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 26th May 2012 12:38am

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Tony Johns6 years ago
E3 is still relevant to me, even though this is coming from a person who has not got the ability to go to the event, I just watch it online and try to look up the latest information from the Nippon Ichi Software America (NISA) booth.

Also looking forward to see what Level 5 have got.

Those are the two smaller developers I try to find information from online around this time of year.

I always look forward to Nintendo's press conference as well as trying to see if Square-Enix would ever get to release Final Fantasy Verses XIII. Also looking at how XIII-2 ended, I really want Square-Enix try to complete the story with a XIII-3 announcement.

I also want to see if Namco-Bandai would ever release more Tales games for the west. I would love to see Tales of Xillia being localized.

It is often the case of me trying to look online for as much gaming information as I can. But often being overcrowded by games that I am not really interested into because I am more into something niche market. But at least I get more information from the Tokyo Game Show in September.
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