E.A – Two letters that have the capability of striking fear and hatred into the hearts of gamers around the globe, almost as much as when they hear the words Ubisoft or “lag.”
Okay, enough jokes, let’s actually get into some journalism. Electronic Arts, better known as E.A, one of the biggest gaming publishers in the industry, announced this Wednesday that they are not going to be presenting at this years E3 convention. E3, is one of, if not the biggest convention in video games that has tens of thousands of attendees every year. It is used by many publishers and creators as a platform to unveil their respective companies upcoming games, tech, and other announcements. Not only that, but E.A has had multiple successful years when accounting for the attendees at their booth – which is easily one of, if not the largest floorspace dedicated to one company. It is yet to be said who will replace that booth, but with E.A removed, it will definitely leave the floor feeling a bit vacant. So when a company like that chooses to opt out of such a massive convention, what does that say about the company? Moreover, what does that say about E.A?
Well, not much, really. Before we jump ahead and start falsely analyzing the demise of both the convention and the publisher, let’s get into what E.A will be doing instead of E3. The company has announced, E.A Play, a 3-day event in Los Angeles that will be held, interestingly enough, at a location literally a couple blocks away from the L.A convention centre where E3 will be held. Not sure if that’s a jab, but we’ll leave it at that. The event will go from June 12th-14th alongside a companion event that will be held in London on June 12th. E.A’s website states that the event will include hands-on game demos, live events, and special guests, as well as a streaming service that will allow all of us at home to watch it all go down. In an interview with Polygon an E.A representative told them:
Tickets will have to be reserved in advance, but we are not charging a fee to attend…Attendees will get a crack at EA’s playable offerings before industry and the press at E3 2016. Our players will have access to the games on Monday. We will open up the event to the industry on Tuesday, allowing those who are in town for E3 to see our games and join the experience.”
So…Is E3 Dead?
So great, it seems like E.A wants to try something new and make a whole shabang that focuses on everything E.A. Maybe that includes announcing an actually good basketball game? (OH! Shots fired) Now don’t think they’re completely pulling the plug on E3. That’s not the case. According to them, they will be holding “private meetings” and conferences with other companies during the convention…whatever that means. Now, okay, this isn’t the first time a company has gone off to do their own thing. Nintendo has their “Direct”, Sony has their “Experience” and so on. But regardless, they still show up for E3 and give solid showings of the future of their company. It’s a lot like the tech world. We’re all familiar with CES being one of the biggest conventions for everything tech and are used to seeing announcements from companies like Samsung showing off their new bedazzled phones. But in recent years, companies like Samsung have shimmied away from CES in order to do their own conference. But that still doesn’t mean they don’t show something during the event. So E.A, having the biggest floorspace and most crowded conferences, completely pulling the plug on such a huge convention, may mean something. What that something is, I’m not sure. Does it mean E3 is decreasing in it’s attendance and doesn’t have the same power it once did during the mid 2000’s? No. Actually, E3 2015 was the first E3 in almost a decade where attendance went beyond 50,000. Yes there was a huge climax during 2004-2005, but then due to a format change, attendance plummeted the following years; but since then has been growing rapidly, and seems it will continue to do so in the coming years.
Is E.A Changing?
So it’s definitely not the value of E3 itself, so does that mean E.A is wanting to change their tactics? More likely. It’s hard being a two time consecutive award winner of the coveted “Golden Poo” award, given by The Consumerist for being voted as “The Worst Company in America” in both 2012 and 2013, the only company in history to ever do that. And though after it’s first award, president Frank Gibeau shrugged it off, it really hurt the second time, and he responded by saying that
We take it seriously, and want to see it change. In the last few months, we have started making changes to the business practices that gamers clearly don’t like.”
Now yes that was back in 2013, and whether or not they really have kept their word and taken a turn for the better is a discussion I’ll leave up to you.
As I said before, E.A is not the first company to go off and do something on their own. Actually, I think because E3 is growing so rapidly and has become such a huge event, companies now want to direct their fans to a more personal and direct approach in introducing their upcoming games, without having them being distracted and flailing about around all the hustle and bustle of all the different publishers and press. But pulling yourselves completely out of such a huge convention, which allows you to have tens of thousands of eyes on your company’s upcoming products, seems like a bit of a missed opportunity. But then again, I do think E.A should focus less on marketing and more on the games they make.
You can find E.A’s official site for their upcoming event here
What do you think? Is this a good move by E.A? What are your thoughts on E.A Play? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!