E3 video game expo expands digital presence, though Sony pulls out

E3 (not the Electronic Entertainment Expo), is the biggest video game event. Every year, tens of thousands of people crowd the Los Angeles Convention Center to listen to press conferences, attend panels, soak up cosplay and play demos of never-before-seen games. Last year, due to COVID-19 issues, E3 was canceled. This year, he returned from June 12 to 15 in a virtual format only, a reminder of the increasingly digital landscape of our lives.

Typically, E3 attendees can walk around the exhibition halls, with members of the media scoring key interviews during the event. In recent years, these press conferences have started to be broadcast online, which has helped democratize the E3 experience. But this year, with a fully digital E3, the push to bring the industry show to the masses has accelerated like never before, with any computer or smart device owner – press and public – able. to consult the festivities. Most of the velvet rope of years past was gone, which, honestly, isn’t a bad thing.

This year’s E3 was relatively low-key. Compared to the Tokyo Game Show, there was plenty of news, but compared to previous iterations, it wasn’t exactly breathtaking.

There have been a decent number of announcements, with Nintendo among the leaders in the pack with reveals for new games to come: teasing, with some truly gorgeous images, a 2022 release for a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild; Metroid Dread, the sequel to Metroid Fusion from 2002, and the first 2D Metroid game in 19 years; and Advance Wars 1 + 2: Re-Boot Camp, remastered versions of classic Game Boy Advance games in a new style of cartoon art.

Among Japanese game makers, Square Enix performed particularly well, with a Guardians of the Galaxy game by Eidos Montreal, owned by Square Enix, and Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin, an action role-playing game planned for 2022 and co-developed by Koei. The Tecmo Ninja Team. The original concept and character design was created by Final Fantasy VII and Kingdom Hearts character designer Tetsuya Nomura. The first trailer wore a strong influence from Nomura when it comes to clothing, but her iconic extravagant hairstyles weren’t that prevalent.

There was, however, a notable absence. Sony was AWOL at this year’s virtual E3 – an unusual move considering the electronics giant usually makes the loudest noise at the event.

“While, just like in previous years, Sony does not plan to attend E3, we continue to focus on delivering the leading and redesigned storefront for news, announcements, disclosures, networking and the interactivity of video games that have made E3 a beloved experience for decades, “gaming industry group ESA said in a statement. declaration at TechRadar. This isn’t the first time Sony hasn’t attended E3, as the company also missed the 2019 show, choosing to focus on its own storefront and State of Play ads.

Virtual or not, Sony’s jump to E3 reduces the scale of the event. For the press, covering E3 can be overwhelming, with a constant stream of news and announcements. The cabins are massive; the crowds are large. And absorbing everything new games are like drinking from a fire hose.

This is no longer a problem, because with online press conferences, events like E3 (and also the Tokyo Game Show) are increasingly losing their grip on the news cycle. One of the main purposes of trade shows is to disseminate information to a wider audience. But with the proliferation of YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, and other social media platforms, game companies are no longer entirely dependent on expensive industry events.

But even for gamers, who often find fun and friendships in virtual worlds, even more of everyday life has shifted online during the pandemic. Online games, which have long been a way of “meeting” and spending time with friends, have become an increasingly essential way to socialize. And with the increased use of Zoom, FaceTime, and other communication tools, our real and digital lives overlap more than ever.

The in-person show from previous editions was missed at this year’s show, but there are some glimmers of hope on the horizon. According to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, E3 2022 will be a face-to-face event. The digital experiences of E3 are, without a doubt, here to stay, but the crowds, lines and chaos will return. And it will be wonderful.

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