The Daily Grind: Does the death of E3 mark the end of an era or a welcome revolution?


When all the rest of the big companies dropped out of E3 last week, I mused in work chat that surely the ESA wouldn’t actually cancel it – surely it wouldn’t want to lose the massive deposit for the LA venue, and this would be the last one. But as it turned out, I was wrong, and E3 was canceled anyway, and it seems unlikely ever to return. And I don’t know quite what to think of it.

I’m not exactly sad about it; if I can be frank, I hate conventions. I hate organizing our end of conventions. I hate how little MMO presence there is at conventions. I hate the expense, I hate the scheduling, I hate pandemics and con-flus, I hate the dumb demos, I hate the crowds, I hate worrying about whether some idiot dev is going to hassle our attendees (it has happened). And E3 in particular has always been bad on all levels, and it was getting worse and even more marketing-centric (if that’s possible); the last E3 we actually attended, our writer was shut out of a major company’s press event literally at the door because he wasn’t a (malleable and impressionable) YouTube influencer. That writing has been on the wall for a long time, long before COVID. We didn’t bother going back, and it’s saved us money and cost us zero clicks.

So I’m not sad. What I am is wary. I don’t agree with the folks saying that E3 was part of a bygone era, no big deal. What I agree with is the industry sentiment that feels E3 wasn’t as much canceled as murdered, that major players in the games industry prefer to dodge the layers of inquisition and accountability and evidence that such an event commands. They can get the fluffy marketing without the annoyances of pesky press pawing all over their toys and asking annoying questions, and people will just… watch trailers and buy broken stuff while believing they’re more empowered rather than less. That’s pretty much what E3’s de facto replacement has become, after all; there’s nobody asking questions at The Game Awards. It’s pure hype.

What do you guys think, now that you’ve had a weekend to sleep on it – did you hate E3 as much as I did but still see its utility? Does the death of E3 mark the end of an era or a welcome revolution?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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