Innovation or damage control?
Gamesindustry.biz has acquired a pitch deck that showcases what the ESA plans to do with E3 next year. The main selling point is that E3 will be transformed into a “fan, media, and influencer festival” which is similar to other big games industry events such as Gamescom and ChinaJoy.
E3 2019 may have provided a lot of people good excuses to never attend the event in the future. It lacked presence from big names such as Sony, Activision, and Microsoft (mostly present at the Microsoft Theatre which is about 5 minutes away from the LACC). There was also that controversy of leaking the personal data of over 2,000 journalists.
Shifting the approach from business-to-business to consumer-friendly requires a revamping of the whole event and that’s what the ESA plans to do. One of the plans is to prepare “experience hubs” in the middle of usual exhibitor booths.
Utilisation of the “experience hubs” will focus more on creating “experiential events and PR moments” such as having a professional basketball player playing an NBA game in front of fans and Hollywood actors competing in game tournaments.
One particular word that stands out is “queuetainment” and it relates to two other major points. One, there will be systems to help manage wait times such as a proposed E3 smartphone app and premium passes sold at a higher price. Two, there will be constant marketing efforts aimed specifically towards people waiting in line.
There are two slides dedicated to the topic of “The Power of Social Good” which mostly details plans to amplify “E3’s social good brand”. They include actions such as having influencers who are passionate about issues such as gender equality and STEM. The main objective is to basically (re)establish a good branding for E3.
As someone who has never attended E3, the idea of the “E3 Digital Ticket” definitely sounds interesting. Implementation of these digital tickets will include features such as exhibitors providing codes to limited-time demos and the ability to purchase demo-bundles of games showcased on the floor.
Despite all the focus towards consumers, media will still be given priority as it’s proposed that the first day of the event will be open only to influencers, industry personnel, and media.
On paper, E3 2020 sounds it will be a more cheerful event that will have a lot more shouting and clapping than ever before. However, is it truly what the industry needs moving forward?
I’ve read that a lot of big name publishers and game companies find that having a presence at E3 no longer provides the same ROI that it did many years ago. Events such as Playstation Experience are more beneficial as companies don’t have to compete with each other for attention.
Of course, there’s also digital-only events such as Nintendo Direct which cost significantly less yet are able to generate just as much attention nowadays. With ideas like these, will changing E3 actually help in making it more attractive to game companies?
Personally, I don’t think so.
You can read the pitch deck here.