If I am going to tell you why E3 is not that important anymore then I first need to explain what it is, and why it was needed. E3 or Electronic Entertainment Expo is a annual trade fair presented by the Entertainment Software Association for the video game industry. It was used by video game companies, video game manufacturers, and accessory manufacturers to showcase and advertise upcoming games and game related products. The difference between this show and others like Pax, Gamescom, and Tokyo Game show is E3 is an industry only event where the others are open to the general public. Meaning if you wish to attend E3 you have to verify with the ESA your industry credentials.
Why was it needed? Before E3 video game companies would attend other trade events to show off their products. The industry grew bigger year by year but the respect wasn’t given to reflect such. At events like the Consumer Electronics Show video games companies would be put in the back of the expo halls or outside in tents. Game companies needing their own place to show case products, retailers wanting a better showing of those products to make better purchasing decisions, and media being able to access these products to write about formulated a need for what would become E3. The Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA) and IDG’s Infotanment world would co found the first E3 event in 1995. Both these companies would later form the ESA.
What changed? See back then this was the best way to get the information needed out. As time went on technology advanced. Print media would give way to websites and blogs. Websites and blogs will give way to content creators and streamers. `Demos, alphas and betas would no longer have to be produced onsite and could be showcased digitally straight to the consumer. Trailers no longer needed to be distributed to the press and could directly be given to the public. The gaming press in general has taken a lesser middle man role as companies can now deliver content straight to the consumers. Retailers can make quicker purchase decisions based on direct consumer response via streams, social media, and youtube videos. The need to wait for a yearly event, or to spend money on extravagant show casings to show products has simply diminished. With technology growing making it easier to reach consumers, and other shows who open their doors to the general public like PAX, it’s becoming less and less enticing to spend loads of money on a show where the only people in attendance are industry affiliates and your competition.
The biggest sign that E3 was not needed anymore would be in 2013. Nintendo announced that it would not be doing the traditional press conference that all the big companies usually did during E3 week. Instead it would focus on digital events, and smaller closed door presentations for select media and for consumers a partnership with Best Buy to demo new games being shown. Not only did nintendo this year change up, both Microsoft and Sony would opt to have special events before E3 to showcase their new consoles. All three companies had success with their endeavors.
Fast forward to today and you see several big name companies opting out of E3 this year. Activision, Disney, and EA will not have booths at this year’s E3.In addition to that Nintendo has Decided not to showcase or give any information on its new system code named NX at this years event, but will hold a event of its own when ready to reveal the system. They also stated they would only be showcasing one game at this year’s E3 as well. This took the gaming community by storm as some thought this to be a mistake. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise as the writing has been on the wall for several years now. E3 is not needed like it once was and more and more companies are starting to see this and explore other options. If you paid attention you would have noticed this. Several big game announcements and trailers that would normally be saved for E3 have been instead streamed through digital events or just straight out gameplay on twitch. It’s not to say E3 is dead and that it doesn’t serve a purpose but its has been on the decline and is not as important as it once was. It also doesn’t mean that if a company does not show up it’s not the end of the world like some in the community make it out to be. There are just simply other ways to do things now and if your not attending the event then really nothing has changed for you the information will still get to you the same way on your computer screen or TV.