The cancellation of E3 2023 has, in a way, sealed the fate of an event that defined the video game industry for many years. What makes it all the more sad, is that the organizers' decision comes as no surprise after successive announcements of absence from major publishers.
Nevertheless, the end of E3 echoes in the gaming industry halls.
End of E3 as seen by industry…
For the record, this is not the first time that the history of the famous trade show seems to have come to an end. Back in 2007, many were announcing the end of E3, and Gamecock even organized a "funeral" for the event. Only that at that time the issue was mainly not the condition of the fair itself, but criticism of the new, "business" style of the event (as opposed to, how else, the event organized by this publisher).
Geoff Keighley struck somewhat similar tones. The host of The Game Awards gala mentioned on Twitter how much the E3 show meant to him and other gamers years ago. However, he immediately added that the event had "not evolved" for a long time, despite having to reckon with global competition. For example, the Summer Game Fest event, which this year will take place on June 8, and which Geoff is organizing.
Giancarlo Saldana, writer at Gamepressure:
My first and only time going to E3 was back in 2012 when I worked for this other smaller website that was just starting to pick up. We were all surprised that our E3 press credentials were approved that year, but we immediately organized our trip to Los Angeles and booked our flights and a shared hotel room for the week.
As soon as I walked into the halls of the LA Convention Center, I felt in awe of how big the video game industry truly was. From Nintendo and Sega to Harmonix and Hyperkin, every video game company I knew of was there, and because the show was open to only industry reps for the first few days, it felt more professional than the PAX East conventions I had been to, and I felt more important, trading business cards with people I had only emailed in the past. I was invited to various press conferences from Ubisoft’s where they showcased Assassin’s Creed 3 and Watch Dogs to Nintendo's where I got to be in the same room as Shigeru Miyamoto as he talked about New Super Mario Bros. Wii U. It was a great week bumping elbows with fellow journalists and developers and enjoying some R&R time afterwards visiting touristy spots like Hollywood and the Griffith Observatory. That infectious song Call Me Maybe will always remind me of my trip to E3 partially because it was showcased on Just Dance 4 but also because everyone played it at parties that week.
As the years went on, I always wondered how E3 could still exist as more and more companies began streaming their news. It cut costs for them, sure, but it also gave them the flexibility to showcase whatever they wanted whenever they wanted it. It’s a shame E3 was cancelled this year, and it’s really up in the air whether it will continue again in the future, but I will always remember how close it brought me to the industry and made me realize how powerful it is when everyone works together doing the thing they love.
Other representatives of the industry focused on sharing memories and photographs from previous editions of the fair. In the photos we can see, among others, a tiny “exhibition” dedicated to the first Witcher from 2004 (which, by the way, not the first time we see it) and the booth of GoldenEye 007 from 1997.
- There is also no shortage of mentions of memorable moments or personal photos of attendees at trade shows held in the second decade of the 21st century. Leading the way is, how else, the "breathtaking" Keanu Reeves at E3 2019, but we also have a photo of journalists Jeff Grubb and Mike Minotti at E3 2015, meetings with famous creators and many, many other memories from years gone by.
- Of course, some developers (not just in the game industry) prefer to vent the disappointment using memes or briefly express regret for the - apparently - end of the E3 trade show, which has accompanied the industry for more than 25 years.
Przemyslaw Bartula, Gamepressure board member:
I was part of the plank owner Gamepressure team that traveled to E3 from 2005 to 2007. I'll never forget our first trip to LA for E3 2005. When we crawled out of the airport and settled down at a motel in downtown Los Angeles, we found that our credit cards didn't work. Talk about promising beginnings. But all in all, we managed to survive.
I am also extremely proud and happy at the same time that I was able to be at E3 2006. It was the largest and most notable trade show in its classic form. The event occupied all the halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center, including Kentia Hall (where years ago William Wright presented the still unknown The Sims), there was no cutting corners, various gadgets and T-shirts were literally flying over the heads of visitors, and the halls were dominated by the then famous booth babes. It was then that I met the editors-in-chief of Click and CD-Action (great guys), and witnessed the creation of the legend of the first Witcher.
Unfortunately, after the sensational E3 2006 came devastating changes. E3 2007 was merely a shadow of the great events of the past. Someone came up with the idea to limit the event just for business, reduce its scope and get rid of everything that consituted its strength. I then attended the E3 funeral organized by one of the publishers. I didn't want to go to E3 again either; something was over. As we know, despite several attempts, the event never recovered its glory years, and now it becomes a thing of the past.
…and the players
Also gamers are reacting to the news of the cancellation of E3 2023, although in their case it is rather difficult to talk about universal disappointment. Most Internet users make no secret of the fact that in recent years the event has declined and the cancellation of this year's edition was inevitable.
- For many people, the event has “died” many years ago. Its abandonment by successive publishers (not to mention the "holy trinity" of Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo) and the official cancellation of this year's edition were only a confirmation of this fact.
- That said, serial Internet users also gathered memories. The presentation of Monster Hunter: World and many Sony hits, and – once again - Keanu Reeves on the stage of Cyberpunk 2077 were firmly planted in players' memories. Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aimé's appearances were not forgotten either. Especially his famous speech from 2011, which remains part of Internet culture to this day.
Krystian Smoszna, editor-in-chief of GRYOnline.pl, Gamepressure’s sister site:
I have fond memories of my multiple visits to the E3 trade show, even though I associate them primarily with a hard work and sleepless nights. Going to the fair was a challenge, and I'm glad that I and the team at the time always managed to get every last drop of knowledge out of it. Of course, one was aware of participating in something big, because for those few days the eyes of the entire gaming world were turned to the halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center. This made it all the more sad that an event of such range and importance began to lose its weight, until it finally died off completely.
It was actually a slow process, an extended agony. Significantly, the symbol of its demise was not Covid, although it certainly did his part, as it showed everyone in the streaming era that it was possible to live without an E3. More significant, however, was the slow departure of publishers who found it easier and cheaper to do something next door on their own terms than in the halls of the LACC for a truckload of money.
The trail was undoubtedly blazed here by Electronic Arts, which decided to move out back in 2013. Organizers attempted to compensate for reduced revenues from publishers by allowing people from the street into the halls. This happened for the first time in 2017, and it was actually the beginning of the end for the event. The decision was mainly complained about by industry representatives who came to Los Angeles in June to do their business. With the halls jammed to the brim, there was a problem with getting around and getting to meetings on time, which we ourselves experienced.
Nonetheless, I will miss the event because it was a one-of-a-kind celebration. Everyone knew that the conferences accompanying the fair would show new title, the biggest teams and companies would reveal their plans for the near future, and the announced games could be tested to some extent. The shows available online today no longer offer such a chance, as they are limited only to the former part. From a gaming fan's point of view, of course, nothing changes, but already from ours, GOL's, quite a lot has. E3 2023 could have been a new deal after a hiatus of several years and show that such an event still makes sense. As usual, however, money was the deciding factor. Despite the record-low rate for space, big publishers started refusing to come, and without them the rank of the whole event would have been much lower. It's a shame, but that’s life.
Quite a few of posts from gamers are about just such moments. The games themselves (and their developers) are remembered by Internet users here and there, but it's probably more common to find references to the "giant enemy crab," a ready Reggie or the ovation for Keanu Reeves. After all, gamers have come to love the E3 trade show not only for the flood of big announcements, but also for the moments that have sometimes become a permanent part of gaming history (for better or worse - the dancing pandas are probably better left forgotten).
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