E3 won’t be happening in a digital format this year

    
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Whee.

The cancellation of E3 2020 was significant; even if the trade show has been generally diminished in importance over the past several years, it’s still a major show that has a huge footprint. While the cancellation announcement mentioned that the ESA would be looking into provide some sort of coordinated online experience, a statement from an ESA representative confirms that this will not be in the form of some unified E3 Online-style event. Instead, the ESA is promising to help promote and work with planned exhibitors to highlight online offerings individually.

E3 2020 is not the only event to be cancelled over COVID-19 anxieties, with GDC and Gamescom having similar disruptions. It’s important to note that the initial cancellation announcement does not specifically state that there will be an online E3, making this change viewable as potentially being what was meant all along. Still, it also serves as confirmation that there will be no E3 of any kind this year, a major change for the industry even as E3 2021 has already been announced. It’s also notable as the aforementioned GDC and Gamescom both migrated to digital formats.

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Crowe

I respectfully disagree that this was significant. I believe E3 lost relevance years ago. Besides, what could really be important about E3’s cancellation when no in-person convention from last year is taking a chance this year?

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Siphaed

Can I say this? Can I? I’m gonna say it. The ESA is an outdated bureaucratic agency funded on the backs of the video game industry to essentially be lobbiests for the largest of the companies. That’s all it is and it needs to be defund and disband. The original controversies revolving around video game violence and Free Speech has been resolved. That battle is over and the ESA serves no purpose now to that front. The ESRB, formed from the ESA, is the only thing that still serves use but would be better off being regulated by the Government at this point.

The ESA’s self-servicing was shown very much at the favoring for loot boxes during the controversy over the last few years. Companies that peddle those gambling mechanics are stakeholders in the ESA and thus the ESA backs their business decisions. Simple, no?

As for E3 itself, over the decades it has gone from “Fanservice Live!” (we all remember Booth Babes) to a lying hype machine. Games aren’t being presented at E3, lies are. Prerendered trailers; fake gameplay sets; demo levels; and so on. I’d rather have the lies peddled directly by the companies so that it can fall back on them instead of the paid Influencers that go to E3, or web shows, or whatever. A lie presented by EA/Activision/Bethesda is…..well, skepticism is easier to have when there’s no media hype train filming pocket cheer squads promoting something.

I realize this is a lost cause. Look at Riot and Valorant’s Twitch beta hype. A carefully crafted campaign to get as much publicity as possible as quickly as possible. Using a Twitch campaign of freebie beta key giveaways in order to peddle Influencers as free promoters of their product. Who needs to fly them out to E3 when you cheaper ways to get the same results?

Maybe I’m just crazy rambling.

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Bryan Correll

Yeah, you can say it.

bhe ESRB, formed from the ESA, is the only thing that still serves use but would be better off being regulated by the Government at this point.

That’s the only part I’d disagree with, mostly because of some of the chucklehead politicians who would really like to be able to do so. And, in the US at least, it would unleash a panic across the entertainment industry which is almost entirely self regulated (bar gambling) under the principle of “we have to do it ourselves to keep the government out.”

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
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The Weeb formerly known as Sray

The ESRB is, to my knowledge, the only entertainment ratings board in North America that does not base its ratings classifications on that of the MPAA’s ratings guidelines for movies. That is the reason that video games get away with depicting graphic violence in Teen rated games that would garner an NC17 rating if portrayed on film.

That really has very little to do with the discussion other than the fact that the ESA’s one meaningful contribution is actually pretty toothless because essentially nothing short of hardcore pornography is actually regulated by ESRB.

I just felt it needed to be mentioned.

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Bryan Correll

I don’t consider the ESRB to be above significant criticism. Same goes for the MPAA, whose actual rules are pretty opaque and gets a lot of criticism for the relative rating effect of sex and violence. But governmental regulation would run straight into all sorts of issues, foremost being freedom of speech.

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
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The Weeb formerly known as Sray

As someone who’s sat through far too many of Lara Croft’s disgusting death cutscenes, I’d prefer government regulation over the ESRB’s free pass to show whatever you want.

Also, entertainment content ratings boards in many democratic countries are government agencies that manage to regulate entertainment content without impeding freedom of speech. The idea that government agencies are incapable of determining appropriate ratings without stepping on freedom of speech is simply incorrect.

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Bryan Correll

Very few countries, democratic or otherwise, have freedom of speech as deeply enshrined in law as the USA. Hate speech laws (and I am not in any way an advocate of hate speech*) are very common in the industrialized world, but in the US such laws have been consistently ruled unconstitutional with the exception of direct calls for violence.

* Nor am I comparing hate speech to rating video games. I am using it as an example to show just how near to absolute freedom of speech is in the US.**

** This also is not intended as a USA good, everywhere else bad argument. Or vice versa. But what other countries do with regard to content regulation is irrelevant in the United States.

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Jack Pipsam

Indeed, I would agree that you should be very wary of suddenly swapping to a government style of classification, because that’s what we have in Australia with our government-run Australian Classification Board (ACB) and the results are, well, infamous for video games.
Although it doesn’t have to be case, it purely depends on how it’s setup and how the board can make choices.

Movies & TV can get away with pretty much anything, because despite being the same unified board, those mediums have an incredible amount of leeway with what can be considered acceptable for context, so we have few issues there.
But Games, well they have their hands tied for things like drug-usage, like We Happy Few which the ACB knew shouldn’t be censored, but had to do it.
And progress is slow, the way we do it is that changes to classification has to be agreed upon by all our states, this is a protection so the federal government of the day can’t just decide to ban things suddenly, it’s bad enough with our six-states to get that working, I can’t imagine how that kind of protection would work for the USA as nothing would ever be done, ever. But to not have that protective-measure, then that would be outright unacceptable.

I am hopeful that the current review into Classification here will agree that all mediums should have the same rules, if that’s agreed upon then suddenly games will no longer be banned in Australia for drugs ever again.
But if this could have all been avoided with self-regulation the USA style, that would have naturally been preferred.

There’s pros & cons to both systems. But I have to imagine that if classification went to the government in the USA, then we’d suddenly appear rather mild compared when it comes to censorship.

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silverlock

E3 is smart to just let this year pass. E3 has been on a bit of a downward spiral of late skipping this year because of COVID-19 lets them reinvent themselves and hopefully comeback next year riding a wave of people energetically trying to get back to normal.

Mind you knowing the people at E3 they’ll just let this opportunity pass and just keep on their downward spiral.

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Greaterdivinity

That’s a pretty big ooph for the ESA. They promised big creative ideas this year, lost their lead creative agency, and then failed to come up with anything. And from the deck floating around, one of their options being “Good Morning America” is a huge “…are they our grandparents?”

I imagine they’re all praying that the IGN event and any other publisher events held online fizzle hard, because if those perform well they’ll likely be at a fraction of the cost of an E3 booth and the ESA will have an even harder time attracting big publisher investment again in 2021.

This whole thing is a mess. The ESA is in a shit situation. Some of it isn’t their fault, but a whole lot of the tough spot they’re in is a result of poor decisions on their part for years.

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Danny Smith

Nintendo Direct and others like Devolver following suit have proved E3 pointless, opening to the public going from tradeshow to shitty comicon knock off was a sign it was doomed. But still you know this must stick in the ESA’s craw as they desperately try to cling to this idea of being the arbiters of the industry.

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

This’ll be the best E3 in years!

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Jack Pipsam

It wouldn’t make sense.

Major publishers are going to do their own digital events and select indies can jump into the Xbox/Nintendo showcases where the most eyes will be directed, without a floor presence and backroom meetings, what would E3 really have to offer digitally?

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rafael12104

And… I think E3 will now slowly fade away into ether. Pax is more significant than E3 as it stands now. It may remain as a diversion but gone are the days when E3 was the mecca for video games.

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Utakata

…it had better days, that’s for sure.

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Armsbend

They couldn’t out computers I guess.

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Armsbend

figure out…nothing like seeing a joke gone wrong past the edit time…

:(

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Utakata

I know that feeling. >.<

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Bryan Correll

I was scratching my head a bit thinking you were saying computers were “in the closet.”