How the internet and the pandemic killed the high mass of video games

The ghost of E3, the biggest show dedicated to video games in the world, continues to haunt the industry, for which the month of June remains an unmissable event.

For video game fans around the world, June is a special time of the year. It is indeed with the approach of summer that the industry presents all the projects they will be diving into over the next few months.

Logical since it is the period during which is held, in Los Angeles, Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the high mass of video games organized by the ESA. A small week during which the conferences follow one another at a frantic pace. And often at odd hours for those who follow them in Europe. Beyond the conferences, the E3 is also the opportunity for the major video game players to have the demos of their next productions tested at an audience of journalists and a few happy few.

Every year, E3 shows what the planet will be playing in the next few months or in the next year. But the machine has been seized up for several years now.

The show is an opportunity for publishers to to fuel the dream machine. The trailers highlight the great graphic advances of the latest blockbuster games, the announcements follow one another and the release dates of the next hits are finally revealed. Every year, E3 shows what the planet will be playing in the next few months or in the next year.

Seized up machine

But it’s been several years since the machine is seized. The first stone in the pond was launched by Nintendo which, no doubt tired of paying the huge bill that represents a conference in the living room, had skipped the 2013 edition. Since then, the Japanese giant continues to offer a physical stand to the public, but pre-records the conferences it broadcasts. Guaranteed visibility at a lower cost. And other actors have adopted this way of doing things: riding the momentum of E3, while holding its own sideline event: PlayStation, Xbox, EA, Ubisoft… everyone is letting go of the Californian event while clinging to the month of June.

“It is certain that even beyond the environmental cost of a trade show like E3, switching from a physical conference to an online conference allows for big savings.”

Nicolas van Zeebroeck

Professor at Solvay Business School

The health crisis has taken on the task of planting the last nail in the living room coffin. Cancellation in 2020, distanciel the following year and cancellation in 2022. E3 is dead, long live E3!

This does not prevent this month of June to remain an essential moment for the video game industry. On the still hot ashes of E3, Geoff Keighley, a specialist journalist, proposed to hold another online event. baptized “Summer Game Fest”it brings together, for the third year, half a dozen conferences to which should be added a dozen others that are held on the sidelines.

Direct marketing

“It is certain that even beyond the environmental cost represented by a show like E3, switching from a physical conference to an online conference can save you a lot of money“, considers Nicolas van Zeebroeck, professor at the Solvay Business School. “This form of direct marketing is also very practical for addressing the general public without going through an intermediary. In contrast, we lose everything that matters in a B2B show: networking, fundraising and meetings with a view to establishing collaborations.”

To know if the E3 will recover after such a long absence. Especially since everyone seems to have already mourned and is coming to terms with his disappearance. However, the ESA believes in it. Through the voice of its president Stanley Pierre-Louis, interviewed by the Washington Post, the organization assures of its enthusiasm “at the idea of ​​​​returning in 2023 with an event that is both digital and in person”.

Waiting, the absence of E3 this year does not prevent the boiling of the industry in this mid-June. Witness the flanked announcements of upcoming titles.

Halftone conferences

Despite a large number of game presentations, the opening of the Summer Game Fest this Thursday, will not have thrilled many people. The least we can say is that the evening was sorely lacking in originality. Three times, we had the impression of being in front of the same game. “The Calysto Protocol”, “Fort Solis” and “Routine”, presented a few minutes apart, are indeed each inspired by the iconic space horror trilogy “Dead Space”. We probably expected more audacity and it is not the presentation of “Aliens Dark Descent” which will come to contradict us.

Demo “The Calysto Protocol”

The biggest announcement of the conference probably did not upset anyone since it is the remaster of “The Last of Us” – more zombies – redesigned to take advantage of the power of the PC and the latest generation consoles.

As usual, the breath of fresh air came from the presentations of independent games in the second part of the evening. Let’s cite for example “Time Flies”, a game that one would think was made under Microsoft Paint which allows the player to embody a fly with a more than limited life expectancy and who must fill in his list of things to do before dying .

Trailer “Time Flies”

A humorous ode to “Carpe Diem”. Or the magnificent “Naiad” in which we control an aquatic nymph whose mission is to restore life to waterways soiled by human beings. But the big favorite of the evening is undoubtedly “The Plucky Squire” in which the player embodies a brave squire evolving in a children’s book. Until the day he escapes from the work and lands on a desk in sets that one would swear came out of the most beautiful Pixar animated films.

Trailer “The Plucky Squire”

The highlight of the show should be pressed this Sunday evening, during the Xbox conference which we hope is not too generous in space horror games.

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