E3: All Flash and That’s the Way We Like it

E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is going to be held on June 5th to the 7th this year. It is the largest and most important yearly video game trade show. It is during E3 that most of the world’s developers line up their best products to get the attention of potential customers and others in the industry. Some accuse E3 of being too publicized and too much of a media circus, and, to an extent, this is true. However, E3 is more than that. It is important to the video game industry as a whole, and it is clear that developers think it’s worthwhile as they spent huge amounts of money bringing they’re best products out in the flashiest way possible. Today we are going to be looking at why E3 is so important for the industry.

E1 and E2 were awful, and I hear E4 is going to end up like Vista

The video game industry, by its very nature, is one of total flash and showmanship. Developers need to get people excited about their products in order to sell them. The whole industry revolves around hype. This can range from releasing trailers at the proper intervals to boasting. What would the video game industry be without boasting. Whether it’s Peter Molyneux explaining how revolutionary his latest game will be to the console heads (The power of the PS3!), everyone in the video game industry boasts, and rightfully so. It is vital that they excite their audience. Great games can easily be missed opportunities without the proper hype behind it. Lack of advertising, or regular media releases can derail a game’s success just as easily as incompetent design. It is due to this that the video game trade show is so important, and along with the Tokyo Game Show, E3 stands at the pinnacle of these trade shows. It is marketing that drives E3. It is positioned perfectly to showcase games and systems in time for the Christmas rush. E3 provides developers and opportunity to really build the hype for the years best selling games. This is an important service. Developers routinely ask gamers to put down large sums of money for their games, and E3 acts as a perfect tool for showing players what games they will most likely want to invest in.

Above: lack of hype

There are of course more dour industry shows that deal primarily with new tech and these are extremely important for the industry. These trade shows serve a totally different purpose than E3. What E3 is about is the hype. Blinded with colours, demos, booth babes, and more tacky stuff than you could through a fox at, E3 epitomizes a gaudy overdone event, but that is its purpose. It is meant to overload the senses. Whether it’s Microsoft bringing in the Cirque du Soleil as an irrelevant prop for Kinect or Sony bringing in a truck housing Sweet Tooth, spectacle takes front seat. This isn’t the most helpful thing for all of the attendees, many of whom would rather see a more sophisticated show, but it is important for the gamers stuck at home.

Doesn’t make Kinect any better, but it does make it look more glamourous 

In 2007 E3 was toned down and turned into a shadow of itself. According to the planners, it was due to overwhelming demand of the exhibitors. This makes sense, as E3 was most definitely a circus; however, minimizing the event was a catastrophe. It lost any sense of importance. Gamers quickly lost interest, as did developers. E3 was, in essence, revealed to be mostly a marketing event, and minimizing it removed all of its importance. There really isn’t any point in a downsized E3. Sure, developers will be more likely to get actual work done, but there are other events for that. In 2009, E3 returned to its overblown ways and received a huge amount of praise because of it.

I mean, why would you want to thin out this crowd?

Of course, E3 also allows gamers to see companies fall flat on their faces as they try to hype their new products. Think of giant enemy crabs, Wii Music, or pretty much anything involving Kinect. These failures in marketing serve a twofold purpose. First they promote competent marketing from most developers and secondly, they act as barometers for player interest. The internet goes crazy when such failures pop up. Try youtubing E3 and you’ll undoubtably stumble upon such classics as Riiiidge Racer! Many of these events become memes into themselves and can show developers and other players what the internet at large thinks of the developer’s tactics. While the internet does not represent the majority of gamers, it does provide a widespread forum for dissatisfied customers, which is information that developers can use to their advantage.

The best thing to come from Genji

E3 isn’t the best place for industry experts to meet and discuss new strategies for developing games. Its entire allure comes from the media coverage of the event. Sites like IGN and Gamespot as well as G4 make E3 a far bigger event than it should be, and this is an excellent thing. Through E3, gamers can experience the razzle-dazzle and spectacle they expect from the industry, which is very useful for developers, who want to sell their product.

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

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