BITMAPS 80: Sony’s starting a Cold War

BITMAPS

Carry on

Most weeks I search my consciousness for some subject about which to write. This involves spinning around in my computer chair, head lagged on my shoulder like a stroke victim, making intermittent and unintelligible noises. The creative process is both magical and wondrous. Luckily, this week I have a convenient excuse to skip such pastimes. As anyone with enough disposable free time and interest in video games to read this column would know, E3 starts today. I am fully utilizing my admittance, and subsequent packing and traveling duties, as excuse to write a brief article.

 

Cat

Obligatory picture of a cute animal looking cute.

One of the most fundamental tenants of journalistic writing is brevity. I find it ironic that the column I write requiring the least thought, research, and mental investment is also the most journalistically sound. Such is writing. Many journalists, webcomic artists, and forum posters feigning accomplishment by now are writing retrospectives about E3. I won’t lie, I flirted with the idea as well, but then I remembered I’ve never been to one. I also considered writing about my feelings leading up to the big show: that impossible dream I had ever since age 14 when my family first got internet and I learned it existed. The experience was markedly different then – less of a media inundation and more of a screaming-at-the-crappy-dial-up-service aerobic exercise. Then I remembered that nobody would care.

Instead I’ll merely identify an interesting trend setting this E3 apart from those past. E3 is crowded; a landslide of announcements, trailers, media packets, press releases, and pictures of models wearing impractical vinyl clothing so vast any one potential consumer cannot digest it all. Imagine what this feels like for a marketer, though I realize anyone still reading just thought ‘Why the hell would I want to do that?’ It’s now your job to hype Equestrian Master 5 for the DS. You put out a press release, you hand out flyers, and it ends up fifth from the bottom in an E3 aggregation post. You worked on that press release, god damnit.

Some companies, namely Sony and Ubisoft, have come up with the inevitable solution — the early leak. While one might question the intentional nature of Ubisoft’s leak, Sony more or less mass mailed the PSP Go to the internet. The intent is obvious — leapfrog the deluge of information and grab headlines while the grabbing’s good. Sony got the jump on everyone this year, but expect more companies to pull the same trick next year. We’ll see more early announces and early "leaks" every year, until inevitably the pre-release leak window will become so packed that companies will have to announce earlier, essentially leapfrogging the leapfrog. I foresee an early announcement cold war, where companies try to announce earlier and earlier — sort of like retailers put up Christmas decorations earlier every year.

Given enough years it’ll wrap around and we’ll get announcements for the next year’s E3 before this one. Won’t that make for some interesting reading.

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