Here’s how Geoff Keighley aims to improve on 2020’s neverending summer of not-E3


I’m super grateful to all the organizations and games companies that did their level best to provide convention entertainment last summer when the pandemic closed everything down, but even I have to admit that it wasn’t exactly thrilling; I believe we referred to it as the “neverending summer of not-E3.” We’re facing down a similar prospect once again this summer as companies around the world are clearly unwilling to shove everyone into crowded spaces before the pandemic is remotely over, but the digital shows will be a little different. As Geoff Keighley explains in a new GIbiz interview, his all-season-long Summer Games Fest has picked up what is essentially a pre-E3 announcement show Kick Off Live, slated for June 10th, and will hopefully serve as the buzz-generation machine sorely missing last year.

“For fans, it’s going to be two weeks of video game news and it’s all free.”
“[T]he feedback from everyone is that they want these games shows all together,” Keighley says. “So, now we are going to just do a big full-on show for Summer Games Fest that leads into the big publisher events. Which is hopefully more of what people wanted, where things are more condensed and combined together.”

Of note for MMO fans, Amazon, Blizzard, Square Enix, and Frontier are all on Keighley’s docket, in addition to the usual behemoths like Riot, Steam, Sega, Tencent, Activision, and EA.

Source: GIbiz

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I’m deeply amused at how the ESA dropped the ball so hard last year, and by all accounts appears to similarly be dropping the ball once more this year with a pretty lackluster showing. Weird that it appears that an organization that’s supposed to represent the best in interactive digital entertainment is struggling to put on…an interactive digital event.

That Keighley still wants no part of it is interesting, either Summer Games Fest is doing far better than he did partnering with E3, or E3 is still such a clown show that they’re not worth working with. Or maybe a bit of both.

I’m not expecting any big MMO announcements, but I’ll be plenty pleased if we get 1-2 surprises.

It seems like this year most of the events are a bit closer together and we won’t have the endless, confusing, exhausting parade of events and shows. That’s great, because after a few weeks of everyone trying to replace E3 last year I was absolutely exhausted and had completely tuned out of all these things. Which is a shame, because I know a lot of these publishers/outlets put a ton of work into their shows/events.


because I know a lot of these publishers/outlets put a ton of work into their shows/events.

Not that my opinion counts for anything, but I’ve always kind of disliked that. The example I’m most familiar with is Warframe and their own Tennocon. They spend a lot of time and effort making this big, fancy, essentially scripted “skit” that they can perform, taking massive amounts of time and resources away from working on the actual game. And then for Railjack, the New War and their Kuva Liches, completely failing to back it up with the gameplay they eventually added. Because it turns out to be a lot harder to implement repeatable and balanced game mechanics than it is to make what’s essentially a live machinima performance. :(

I’m pretty sure it’s the same at other companies, with whatever they make for shows like E3 taking time and creativity away from the actual game, possibly for a “demo” branch that’s so radically different than the real game that they can’t even share the code. (Or so wildly fictionalized that there wouldn’t be any point.)

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Potentially, most of the heavy lifting is done by marketing teams and outside agencies. Stuff like demo’s and whatnot are planned long in advance, so while they’re an extra lift for the development team that’s factored in and is still important for the event itself (marketing matters a lot).

Like it or not, these shows are still hugely important for these companies, and while they may not justify some of the absolutely insane prices for booth space (don’t get me started on the kinds of budgets I’ve seen just for the booth space alone, not even including booth buildout, staffing, fees for things like hanging banners etc.) they absolutely justify their existence in a digital space or a smaller stage.

And when gamers don’t get them, many get very angrypants : |