At one point in time, the month of June was synonymous with the Electronic Gaming Expo for video game fans. However, this was also a point in time when “video game fan” didn’t mean “pretty much everybody on the planet”. Now, nearly everyone you meet has a favorite video game and spends time getting immersed in fantastic worlds. And, now, E3 might be a thing of the past.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, is an annual event hosted by the Electronic Software Association. The ESA is a trade organization and lobbying group that fights to further the cause of video games in all of their forms. At one point in time, E3 was the marquee event of the video game industry. New consoles, blockbuster announcements, and huge reveals were par the course for the June expo.
Over time, however, things have changed in the gaming industry. Where once the three titans, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, hosted massive events in the convention center in Los Angeles, they slowly peeled off from the aging event. Nintendo began hosting their “Nintendo Direct” videos instead of showing up to the event. Sony began holding digital conferences.
This slowly eroded the perception of E3 as a major event and made the month of June, itself, feel like the time for big game announcements. E3 was still there, but it was becoming more of an artifact of a bygone era. With more widespread access to the internet and instant video streaming, why would video game companies need a venue like E3 to share news about their games?
Then, a pandemic wrapped the country in confusion and uncertainty for the future. Since March of 2020, it’s hard to overstate how many things have been shifted, likely for good. The Supreme Court now allows live audio of its oral arguments to be streamed. Numerous office jobs have shifted to work-from-home after years of claiming such an arrangement was impossible.
And E3 was cancelled, leaving gamers wondering if year would be a wash.
Instead, things go on. This June is the “summer of games,” being hosted by various sites and promoted widely across the industry. Sony hosted a major event revealing their new PS5 console. Microsoft will soon unveil more details of their new Xbox Series X.
While E3 might have been canceled, you wouldn’t be able to tell from the hype and excitement surrounding these digital events. So, does the industry need E3 anymore?