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E3 needs to change and grow to stay relevant

Sections: Conventions, E3, Features, Opinions

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Gamers above the age of 25 will probably remember that way back in the day, E3 was a big, big deal. It was one of the few events surrounding gaming where all the really cool stuff you were going to hear about for the next few months was coming together in one place. It was a big deal even for journalists.

But in 2014, not only are the main press conferences streaming on the Internet, E3 itself isn’t looking so hot. And that’s because it’s outdated.

First of all, it’s no longer the only or even the biggest convention on the block. Consider, for a minute, the rapidly-growing PAX franchise of conventions. From a once-yearly brouhaha in Seattle, there will be no fewer than four PAX conventions a year in the future; PAX, PAX East, Pax South, and PAX Australia. That’s not even including major conventions like, say, Gamescom in Europe, or the Tokyo Game Show.

Secondly, the major point of E3, namely those press conferences, are now streaming on the Internet. Heck, Sony is going to stream them to movie theaters and you’ll even get a goodie bag at the end of it. Nintendo is skipping the big press conference altogether and running what amounts to hour after hour of livestreaming content, essentially a 24-hour Nintendo channel for a few days. What was once carefully prized information to be written up in massive feature articles is now broken out into little tidbits that scatter across the Internet in microseconds.

More to the point, E3 is no longer fun, really. If you’ve been to a PAX, it’s ultimately all about the games; you can sit down and play video games, card games, pick up a tabletop group and play that way, the point is, you’re playing. E3 is about the marketing, and gamers are bombarded with marketing all the time, now. Either E3 needs to shift to being about fun, or it needs to reconsider why it’s even running a show.

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