How old were you when you realized you no longer wanted to commit? When it comes to E3, Ubisoft was today years old, as the publishing giant became the latest in what’s becoming a long line of major gaming companies to bow out of the event.
This latest announcement has even further increased the speculation that the once huge E3 event is facing cancellation in 2023.
Credited as the founder of E3, Pat Ferrell, CEO of Infotainment World in the early 90’s wanted to create a space that respected the gaming community after a subpar display at the Consumer Electronics Show.
“At the time the industry was exploding , and the fact that we were being treated like second class citizens”, says Ferrell. He along with other upcoming developers and big names like Sony and Sega agreed a change was needed to highlight the growing video game community. With that E3 was born.
Meet me in LA
Los Angeles served as the central hub for the first E3 convention and it was the perfect combination of star quality meets nerd power. The first convention was held in May of 1995 and would draw over 40,000 attendees and over 400 hundred exhibitors. Some might remember the original Playstation console being revealed.
E3 was such a momentous event because there was a war on video games by congress who alleged that violent games were a direct translation to violence in society. The success of E3 caught the attention of Hollywood elites like Steven Spielberg and tech moguls like Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel.
The show would continue to grow traction and relocate to Atlanta for two years while construction was being finished in LA before maintaining a permanent residence in the California area.
Capital amid Controversy
On average E3 generated over 20 million per year but companies were growing tired of the extravagant expenditures, paying for large booths and flying celebrities out for what was turning into a popularity contest.
Ferrell attempted to mitigate the problem by downsizing the event after 2006 because companies were reevaluating the return of profit they were seeing from the convention. Unfortunately, downsizing wasn’t received well by the public who had grown accustom to the large space from prior years.
Things went back to normal and the numbers were steadily increasing by the 10 million in profit each year.
We’ve got E3 at Home
Everyone remembers that moment as a kid driving past McDonalds begging their parents to stop only to be met with the universal statement, “we’ve got food at home”.
It seems as if many of the biggest names in the gaming industry have adopted this ideology because left and right we are seeing companies pull out of the convention.
The internet has been a blessing and a curse to gaming with making access to information and games accessible virtually anywhere that has wifi. It has also put a strain on retailers who have to compete with streaming options and delivery services.
Microsoft , Nintendo , and Sony have all elected to skip the latest E3 convention. Ubisoft previously committed to showing up to the revamped E3 but has since retracted , stating that they are going to host their own live streaming event for fans.
More than Gaming
E3 is for more than celebrity guest speakers and video games. It is a proving ground of sorts; a way to bring all the sub communities in the gaming world under one roof for a short period of time to show new ideas and gain feedback from the consumer.
The challenge the convention faces moving forward is almost similar to what the movie industry has endured. They must find a way to modernize and regain the attention of distributors and consumers. The internet is the easiest way to access information but being able to connect face to face gives a higher quality experience.
There is still a chance for E3 to regain momentum but they won’t be able to do that without the help from a few heavy hitters. Moving forward it will be interesting to see how the collaborators pivot for future events or if there’s a future without E3.
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