Every year, for the past six years, I have attended E3, conferences, parties and show floor alike. As an analyst and media of this fine entertainment industry, E3 is like an early Christmas present your favorite relative gives you – and the content never hits anywhere close to clothing, or a DVD of some random movie you have already watched. No, this relative gives you cash and lots of it. That feeling you get knowing that you will be getting filled pockets is the closest thing to attending E3. How was E3 2017?
For those who don’t know how the event works, here is a little resume. Basically, you head on a flight to L.A. First come the conferences (Microsoft, Sony, Bethesda, EA, Ubisoft and Nintendo with their online showcase), then a couple of after-parties here and there, and finally the E3 2017 show floor. Conferences reveal the games and products, after-parties are there to mingle with others from the industry, as well as play some of the game beforehand, and the show floor is where all the playable games can be found. It is a heavy few days, but well worth. This year around, things didn’t go as smoothly as I would have though.
Press Conferences: Free Food, A-List Artists & Games
In general, everything happens within two days. This time around, EA decided to hold their press conference on Saturday, the day most industry representatives, media included, land in L.A. Due to timing, many weren’t even able to make it on time for the briefing. Fortunately, EA “separated” themselves from the E3 show floor and did their own thing. For medias, it wasn’t so bad, unless you were part of the couple hundreds that couldn’t make it on time due to traffic and other delays. From a fan’s perspective, it was like EA was holding a festivity – more like a fair actually – where most of their revealed games were playable. Need for Speed, FIFA…everything fans needed was present. A DJ was also onsite playing huge banger tracks, followed by the performance of NAS.
Bethesda also went out of their way this year with Bethesdaland. Prior to the conference, attendees could enjoy a full load of fair food ranging from Turkey Legs, Iced Cones and Drinks. Everything, of course, was free and the staff looked happy to deliver the good. They even had some Beef Ribs, a little overcooked, but at that point, who even cares. The festivities were set in motion in preparation to the conference. So far, so good! However, when I got to the area where the actual conference took place, I noticed that only a couple of hundred seats where available… we were easily in the thousands.
What does that mean? It meant that only top executives and special guests had a secured seat, most medias, including my team and myself, had to watch the entire thing while standing up. Yes, it was different, but different isn’t always a good thing. I personally found that to be one of the worst ideas ever. They wanted to make it so that it would be easy to transition the conference with their special guest DJ, Chainsmokers, but in my opinion, no artist would have been able to make me forget how long that hour was.
The rest, which includes Microsoft, Sony, and Ubisoft, went straight to the point. Sony, like every year, has a buffet in place to prep attendees, but at the end of the day, none of them did anything uselessly flashy. I also give props to Ubisoft for keeping the Just Dance number short and sweet this year. While my disappointment from Bethesda and EA got me wondering about E3, all three in the above of the paragraph showed me what I wanted to see, games, and lots of it. Microsoft and Ubisoft both had impressive lineups, Sony, not so much. When watching a conference like those, it is important to take note not only of the number of exclusives and overall games that are coming out (and revealed) but when are they scheduled for launch. Sony showcased some good stuff, but three-quarters of the games didn’t even have a release date, let alone a window. On the other hand, Ubisoft and Microsoft showed tons of games planned for release by the end of the year. I want to know what I will be playing soon, not a year from now!
Then you have Nintendo. They didn’t hold any press conference per say, but during their online spotlight, they showed a game set for release every month from now until the end of the year. Nintendo showed consistency, Ubisoft revealed the best game lineup, and Microsoft the most amount of exclusive 4K titles. Depending on your own criteria, you will choose who won E3, but in my opinion, Ubisoft takes the cake, the trophy and our hearts (shout out to the Beyond Good & Evil 2 reveal).
A Jungle Filled with Dangerous Creatures & Unique Gemstones
The conferences are over and now, it’s time to hit E3 2017’s show floor. To ensure that you have the time to do as much as possible, you should come in early, right? Well, we did and this time, the place was packed. I mean it was so packed, that the South Hall of the L.A. Convention Center had a lineup coming out of the center and following the adjacent street – that is like a line almost a quarter of a mile long. This is what happens when you let 15K fans attend a media only video game convention. I mean, it wasn’t even for us media anymore. I felt as though the privilege of attending E3 was stripped away from me – did I become just a regular Joe?
Going on the show floor felt like a jungle. I was expecting to see tons of people running around and being obnoxious, but the reality was that there wasn’t any place to actually run around. The sheer amount of people was so overwhelming that many of them just stood there, not knowing what to do. What do more people mean? It means that there will be more people in line. This resulted in many, many video game lines to be Closed for having too many people waiting to play. Media usually have ways around that – we got to play a lot of titles behind the scenes, free of any “fans” – however, not all of the companies care as much, so most of the games I had to just forget about because it would take me hours in line to play. That is a bad thing because this shows me that the industry is changing and E3 is putting a lot more importance to fans. Wow…a media and industry exclusive event turning rogue and allowing practically anyone in…isn’t that a bummer!
So yeah, I got to miss out on a bunch of games, many of which I really wanted to play. However, as a holder of a media badge, I was still able to get some hands-on with games that aren’t even accessible to fans. For example, thanks to Ubisoft, we were able to skip the line for Assassin’s Creed Origins, South Park and more. The best part was going behind the scenes and play Skull and Bones. Out of all of the games we have played at E3, out of all of the reveals we have seen, Skull and Bones takes the cake as the best multiplayer game on the E3 2017 show floor. Keep in mind, this title was only playable by a select number of media and industry specialists, so through the rough jungle, we found some nice gemstones.
The dates for E3 2018 have already been revealed. Not the question is, will they allow so many fans to attend, or will they listen to the media and video game developers/publishers and drop it like to like it was a few years back? I really don’t know how the committee will respond to that claim, but one this is sure, we should be expecting tons of crazy games. I am very excited to see how things unfold and looking forward to playing all of the games that were showcased this year. E3 2017 was ok, let’s hope that next year it is better!
Stay tuned as we keep you in the loop with hands-on reviews of the games showcased this past week.