Does the gaming industry still need E3?

E3 will return in 2021 through a new digital structure. But it may be too late for the once great video game expo.

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic brought many changes in the video game industry. Developers work from home, hardware is increasingly hard to come by, and live events are on hold indefinitely. Even E3 was not safe from the dreaded virus, closing its 2020 event and putting its future in doubt. It looks like E3 is adjusting to this year’s epidemic and will make a digital return via a live streaming event in June 2021. While many players are happy to see E3 live after last year’s absence, it may be too late.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, has been the epicenter of the video game industry for generations. Since its inception in the mid-1990s, E3 has provided gamers with valuable information on upcoming games and hardware from the biggest names in the industry. However, society’s shift towards the digital age has not fared well with the legendary exhibition. Companies began skipping the event to host their own live streams to get gamers excited about future titles / hardware. As more companies swapped their E3 booths for independent transmission, the event slowly began to lose relevance.

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Although E3 has been stuck between a rock and a hard place for the past few years, there is still hope for the once great video game expo. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) recently revealed plans for a revamped E3 event in the digital sphere. The new and improved E3 will feature an awards show, two-hour speeches from top editors, a preview night, and more. There will even be on-demand streaming solutions to allow members of the media to play game demos during the event.

E3’s new digital design looks promising, but it still requires the involvement of video game companies to function properly. If companies like Sony, Activision, and EA decide to skip the event to host their own events as they have in the past, E3 could still face an uphill battle. Video game companies have been the glue holding E3 together from the beginning. Without them, E3 doesn’t have much to lean on.

Having all the biggest names in the industry under one roof is part of the allure of E3. Players can see the latest and greatest in games without the hassle of attending multiple events. A massive online exposure would be better for gamers and businesses than having a bunch of overlapping digital broadcasts of individual parts. The only problem is that there are not many incentives for video game companies to participate in the event when they can organize one themselves at a much cheaper price.

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Most of the older players dreamed of attending E3 during the first days of the show. Many watched G4’s live coverage religiously in hopes of seeing the next big thing in the industry. Unfortunately, the E3 lost its dynamism a bit in its later years. Younger players tend to know about the event, but are not attracted to her like later generations. E3 never really evolved with the times, causing some younger players to lose interest in the event. He has even lost some key figures, as Geoff Keighley, for its lack of evolution. Keeping up with the ever-changing gaming environment is vital to the success of E3. Although it is revamping its main format this year, it may not be enough to keep it afloat.

E3’s role in the meteoric rise of video games is undeniable. Millions of players would look forward to the event every year, dreaming of ways to attend the iconic expo. Now, E3 struggles to stay relevant as more companies abandon it for their own digital storefronts. Although ESA plans to restructure E3 to suit the hectic online age, it may already be too late. E3 needs to unite the entire industry in some way if it wants to remain the epicenter of innovative game developments.

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