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E3 – Why Its Nothing More Than A Controller Tease…

There are many, many gaming conventions held around the world, some large, some small. Each individual expo provides a platform for developers and publishers to “show off” their latest creations to industry specialists, media outlets and, on the occasion, to invited gamers.

E3, or Electronic Entertainment Expo, is widely regarded as the biggest annual event for gaming, with a searing reputation for the biggest names in the industry to plan their reveals around this three day event. At the 2017 gathering, there were some big announcements, such as Microsoft revealing Project Scorpio to be named Xbox One X, with full release details and first look at the gameplay and graphical capabilities. Sony focussed on their line-up of upcoming games, including exclusive footage of God of War, Spider-Man and a remake of the iconic Shadow of the Colossus. Nintendo got in on the act with the announcement of Super Mario Odyssey, and the 40 second odd teaser of Metro Prime 4.

All of this, ultimately, means very little. E3 serves as little more than a tantalising teaser for gamers around the globe. It provides a platform for keyboard warriors to argue over how pretty the graphics are, and provides ammunition for brand snobs to fire at anyone around them to convince people that “this console is better because…”

As a 30-something female, I grew out of the console wars a long time ago. I used to be transfixed on E3, eagerly awaiting new footage of the latest and greatest. It provided a hit, a minutely satisfying morsel of what’s to come. It’s the equivalent of a restaurant bringing out a quarter teaspoonful of juice from the grill for you as they cook your juicy, tender T-bone steak. The restaurant knows their steak is amazing, but they get a kick out of seeing you squirm for more. Every single publisher at E3 acts in this exact manner. Why else would they save their very biggest IPs, the fanciest of demonstrations, for such an event?

Many will argue that is simply a platform for advertising, to convince gamers worldwide to purchase their product. That’s a very plausible explanation. Unfortunately, though, games are to be played - not watched, not read about. Games create an unequivocal emotional connection with people, as soon as the controller is picked up and the loading screen has gone. I had the same feeling when I picked up the rectangular control pad to my Sega Master System 2 for the very first time and played Alex Kidd in Miracle World.

Time has moved on, and not just in terms of how games look. Monthly gaming magazines provided demo disks for PC and console games, giving gamers first interactions with soon to be released gems. Demo’s now only exist in a digital world, usually when the game is already on sale. Even these are becoming redundant, as the biggest titles tend to invite gamers who are hot on it into playing “beta” versions of the game, prior to launch.

Here’s a suggestion to every developer and publisher displaying their finest in Los Angeles this year: Why not release the first mission/level of your game as a demo on all consoles immediately after E3? Not only will you receive genuine feedback from the people who keep you in business, but you also satisfy everyone involved, promoting amazing gaming experiences and potentially winning over new gamers to your latest franchise. Don’t keep your titillating creations to yourself for months on end. Let the gamers game – because at the end of it all, that’s the whole point.

Posted by: Scarlett

Scarlett has been working at Ozgameshop since the website's inception. She is a keen video gamer and a dab hand at strategical board games. Don't trust her at the poker table.

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