Like it or not, EA is one of the biggest publishers in the Industry and have some of the most promising games to show at this year’s E3, Mirror’s Edge and Dead Space leading the way along with that PC game you might have heard of called Spore. So when EA CEO, John Riccitiello, speaks, people usually listen to see what he says, and he has definitely spoke his mind on the current E3. His exact words were, “I hate E3 like this.” He continued by saying “Either we need to go back to the old E3, or we’ll have to have our own private events.” He is right about having private events, as more and more publishers are jumping on that bandwagon. Ubisoft, Microsoft, Sega, Sony, Nintendo and EA are just a few that have their own individual events, which could be a sign of things to come.
Ubisoft seems to agree with EA on this, Laurent Detoc, President of Ubisoft North America said this to theSan Francisco Chronicle, "E3 this year is terrible, the world used to come to E3. Now it’s like a pipe-fitters show in the basement." Another Ubisoft executive, Alain Corre, talked to GamesIndustry.biz in regards of the location, date and time. “For E3, it’s very important to be there, and to present the games, because even though it’s much, much smaller than it used to be, still the American media are here, all our competitors, so you need be there, to be ready and to share product. Its one milestone in the communication of your products throughout the year, and it’s important because it’s the ramp-up for Christmas. [But] E3 here, mid-July, in the Convention Center in downtown LA – it’s not appropriate I would say.”
While speaking to TheGameReviews.com, Denis Dyack, CEO of Silicon Knights, gave us his insight on E3. “I think this year’s E3 is becoming more like Hollywood. Where Hollywood is a state of mind and there is no real place and people come to Los Angeles expecting to see Hollywood and they realize that it does not really exist and it is just all in advertising in promotion and press.” Dyack continued, “I think it would be better if it was not around at all. Nothing against ESA, but you know I think oh well, there is another controversial thing I just said.” Don’t worry Dyack, as you’re not the only one speaking their minds on this subject.
What would be a game industry discussion without everyone’s favorite outspoken analyst Michael Pachter stepping in with a few words? Pachter believes that E3 is dead and buried. As you can see from our story, Pachter had this to say on the matter “By scheduling the show two months later than in the past, retailers stayed away. By scheduling the show during the calendar quarter financial quiet period, only limited access was provided for buy- and sell-side analysts. ESA leadership appears to agree that the timing and scope of the show is a mistake, but is hamstrung by some of its more influential members.” In his words, the event is "headed for extinction."
Not all everyone is agreeing with EA, Ubisoft, Denis Dyack and others. Despite saying that “E3 felt like a hospital corridor,” Sega of America President, Simon Jeffery, says he sees the need for an E3. Speaking to MCV, Jeffery mentions that he fully hopes that the ESA can turn things around for future shows. He also poured scorn on those that left the ESA. “E3 was a strange beast this year. We had an extremely strong product showing, had some great meetings, and got our messaging over pretty strongly – all at an event that had all the atmosphere of a large hospital corridor.” “We are big supporters of the ESA, and believe in an efficient need to communicate with the trade at all levels, but we’d like to see something that represents the fun, dynamic nature of the industry a little better without going back to the insanity that was E3 of old.”
Sega isn’t alone in this, as Pete Hines of Bethesda Softworks addressed that there is a need for E3; however, it does need tweaking. Speaking to TechRadar.com, Hines said “I’m a firm believer that we need an E3,and I say that having just suffered through it, so I assure you the pain and wounds are still fresh!" He goes on to say why it needs tweaking, “It either needs to go back to an improved version of last year, or something closer to what it was but perhaps with some controls and boundaries put on it so the bigger companies aren’t strapped with trying to outdo each other with booths the size of a small city.”
It’s certainly splitting the games industry in two, some people want it changed or even thrown out altogether and others see a need for it. One thing for sure is that this year’s E3 didn’t live up to expectations. With many publishers holding out for other events and with Leipzig and the Tokyo Game Show growing every year is there room now for E3? The days of E3 being the best have long gone, as it is quickly becoming a burden on publishers and developers. If more publishers and developers leave the ESA, we could see the end of E3 as we know it, that day will of course be a sad day. In order to try to revive it, the ESA needs to act, and they need to act fast.