E3 in danger? It shouldn’t be

Call it a humblebrag, but I’ve been to every E3 since it began in 1995 — all 22 of them. I’ve seen the show change over the years, and I have seen the show falter. The dark year when we were in Santa Monica, Calif., and another when we shared the convention center were particularly bad. At that show games were relegated to the back rooms, and arts and crafts took the center stage.

No offense to arts and crafts, but video games should not lose out to the craft business. But this year saw turmoil return to the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Some believe the show should be open to the public and be about engaging the gamer, others think it should stay focused on being an industry-facing event.

This year both Electronic Arts and Activision — giant third party publishers — were largely absent from the show floor and the difference was noticeable. The hall with Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony were hotbeds of activity. The hall where EA and Activision normally set up shop? Not so much. On top of this, I heard rumors that both Microsoft and Sony felt they would benefit from having their own events rather than being part of a larger industry event.

I have my fair share of problems with E3, but the last thing in the world I want is to see it go away. Do I have ideas on how to make it better? You bet, but if the game companies walk away we lose the one moment when video games are at the center of the world’s stage. When we see the future of games. When we learn how they will change our lives. When the best-of-the-best face off in a marketing blitz that sets the stage for the coming year and beyond.

Let’s not lose this important part of the video game ecosystem, but it is time for a change to E3. My hope is that the powers that be can look past their own budgets and reservations and make next year’s already announced E3 one of the best ever, where all the video game industry comes together to celebrate games.

Cheers,

Andy McNamara

Editor-in-Chief, Game Informer

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