Four Companies Won’t Be on the Floor at E3 2016
It used to be the most important week in gaming. Now, it looks as though it isn’t just the gamers and the press that think that the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, has lost some of its luster. Some of the biggest names in the industry don’t see it as the be all and end all of gaming.
Over the last few months, four companies have publicly announced that they won’t have a presence on the floor of E3 this year. In January, EA announced that they wouldn’t be at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Over the last week, Activision, Disney Interactive and Wargaming all announced they wouldn’t be at the LACC either.
Disney’s announcement coincided with the announcement that they wouldn’t be launching a new edition of Disney Infinity this fall but would be releasing new content. Wargaming, on the other hand, said that a major presence at E3 “doesn’t fit our current direction.”
The stories at EA and Activision might be a little more interesting. They’ll be in the neighbourhood at the LA Live complex near the LA Convention Centre holding their own EA Play event. This event will be open to the public from June 12th through 14th.
Meanwhile, Activision is partnering with Sony to show off the next entry into the Call of Duty franchise at E3 on the floor and in their keynote.
It’s not unusual for publishers to chart their own course in promoting their upcoming games. Nintendo has been running their Direct series of live streamed press conferences. Sony has been running the PlayStation Experience expos each of the last two years. These don’t include other publishers announcing games through press outlets or with their own videos.
The cost of running at E3, which is a trade and press event, is reportedly quite high. It’s understandable given the cost of setting up booths, preparing stages for keynote addresses, building demos and videos to be played or shown on the expo floor and swag to be given to attendees. It seems as though the cost-benefit analysis has led to five companies (the four noted above and Nintendo) withdrawing from E3.
The industry has come a long way from when E3 started 21 years ago. However, that was a different time. Publishers don’t need a single event to show off what they’re up to over the next year or more. People can connect with anyone instantly. Press releases and assets fill up media members’ inboxes. E3 isn’t really needed any more but it is convenient to have all of the industries big players in one spot. It would be useful if any news came out of it that didn’t go through a PR or marketing person first, though.
The 2016 edition of E3 will take place from June 14 to 16 in Los Angeles. As usual, keynote presentations will precede the actual expo beginning on Sunday, June 12th.