With the official Electronics Entertainment Expo, aka E3, kickoff less than 24 hours way, gamers around the world are waiting with bated breath for the industry’s biggest and most notable event. Despite murmurs that the grandeur of E3 is dissipating, as some of the large players in the space are noticeably absent from this year’s lineup, E3 is still critical for the gaming industry for all intents and purposes.
If you’re not closely aligned with the gaming industry, E3 may pass you by before you even realize it. However, we think there are many lessons to be learned from E3, especially in looking at how the conference has evolved over the years. From our perspective, here’s what you need to know about E3.
What does E3 look like in 2016?
E3 split off from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 1995. Today, the notion of the show is still the same – a platform for the largest gaming vendors to announce new products and games to retail partners and consumers alike. But while the show is still officially closed to consumers in 2016, the landscape looks much different than when it started 20+ years ago.
Today, consumers and enthusiasts flock online to see what’s happening at E3 in real time. The excitement and anticipation that has surrounded E3 still exists, but it’s now more easily accessible for everyone via live streaming on platforms like Twitch and YouTube. According to Tech Times, “E3 was created for gaming companies to showcase their latest and greatest products, but in 2016 you hardly need a massive expo center and thousands of dollars to do so.”
In fact, some of the largest names in the game are foregoing traditional press conferences at E3 in favor of their own, direct-to-consumer events. The most notable being Nintendo, who has opted for their own “Nintendo Direct” program since 2012 – a series of pre-recorded videos that showcased their latest offerings. “This year Nintendo won’t even have that, instead simply live streaming demos of upcoming games, most notably the new Legend of Zelda. Nintendo is cutting out the middle man and going straight to their customers, and so far it seems to have been a successful strategy,”says Tech Times.
In an increasingly interconnected world, brands are able to go direct to their customers without the pomp and circumstance that traditional events, like an E3 has provided. But with that said, it doesn’t mean that E3 is going away any time soon. In fact, some see E3 morphing into something else all together.
In a recent US Gamer discussion, members of the team discussed what the future holds for E3. Mike Williams, Associate Editor and Jaz Rignall, Editor-At-Large both brought up the notion of E3 transforming into something more like SXSW, which would bring all the major players into a centralized location, but give the fluidity and freedom for brands to cultivate their own experience. “That would definitely make sense – it’s already evolving that way”, says Rignall, “so if E3’s organizers could embrace that, perhaps they could build a show around that concept. It would make for a more interesting E3, that’s for sure.”
What We’ve Learned From E3
The digital landscape is shifting, and it’s impacting traditional media in many ways. For example, we’ve seen a huge increase in ad-blocking this year alone, and as consumers continue to move away from disruptive traditional advertising, brands are looking for new ways to reach their target audience, opting for more authentic opportunities like influencer marketing.
In the case of E3, we’re seeing this shift in the digital landscape impact the event too – the conference is still just as important as ever, but instead of being a must-attend event, it’s shifting to one that’s a must-see event, online.
We’re excited to see how E3 continues to evolve to keep up with the innovation of their brand partners, and how the 1:1 relationship with brands to consumers will change this behemoth of the gaming industry.
Grapevine Community Gamers You May See at E3
BooredAtWork brings weekly technology and entertainment reviews, updates and more to an audience of over 100K subscribers each week. Executive Editor & Founder Enobong Etteh will be at E3 – keep an eye out for him!
With over 4.5M subscribers and almost 1.3B views on his channel, Kwebbelkop is one of the go-to creators for all things gaming.
A resident expert when it comes to setting up your space for the ideal gaming setup, TechSource’s videos regularly receive hundreds of thousands of views from gaming enthusiasts, trying to up their game.
ArcadeCloud‘s versatile channel features an array of content from animations, storylines, tips, videos and more.