Infopost | 2023.04.01

F to pay respects meme E3 expo rip

Yesterday I got the email confirming what was reported online: E3 2023 is cancelled and its future is very much in question.

Pure speculation: covid didn't kill E3, though it forced the show to be virtual for three years. Sony pulling out of the show in 2019 killed it. You might say Blizzard started the trend years before, but E3 without Blizzard was like CES without Apple - only Blizzard and extreme fanboys cared they weren't there. Microsoft and Nintendo followed Sony's lead this year, though organizers reasonably expected to proceed on the backs of the publishers and studios.
In memoriam

No one will let a good brand go to waste so I expect E3 2026 to happen, I just don't see it being the same conference unless the major players do a 180. So let's remember E3 for what it was. Here's a recap of my intermittent twenty years of going to the show, highlighting the uniquely E3 things.

E3 2001 Sony Gran Turismo projector
2001

The first time I attended E3 I was amazed by the scale and the spectacle. Three enormous conference floors? Endless backroom cubicles? Gran Turismo projected onto a giant globe? Whoa.

E3 2002 Fire Emblem portable gaming
2002

E3 was all about playable demos. Lots and lots of playable demos. Sure there were marketing materials and teaser videos and conference rooms, but the core of E3 was early access to upcoming titles.

E3 2004 Half-life 2
2004

Playing pre-release games was a big thrill. Even seeing promo videos was exciting in the dark ages before things were simultaneously livestreamed to the web.

E3 2005 Nokia N-gage
2005

In the late 2000s mobile platforms/games came to the show with a lot of money and tried to unseat consoles. It didn't work.

E3 2010 Red Faction mech
2010

The elaborate sets and props made E3 feel like a Hollywood sound stage. From giant mechs to Nissan Skylines to life-size character sculptures, E3 was a visual treat even if you didn't look at a single screen.

E3 2011 booth babe
2011

For a while E3 was synonymous with booth babes. Unlike other trade shows, E3's promoters were more professional cosplayers than sexualized marketers. (The glaring exception to this was the booth babes promoting energy drinks.) However you feel about it, I enjoyed a good photo op with a character toting a 50 cal or some Dying Light zombies or a Horizon dinobot.

E3 2012 Ford Focus roulette
2012

Some of the booths got creative. Roulette, beer pong, 3d printing. I think Fortnite had an obstacle course.

E3 2013 Gran Turismo 6 demo
2013

Because E3 vendors were trying to sell the experience, they brought the top-tier gaming setups. This was equally great for playing the demos and collecting media room ideas.

E3 2017 Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash
2017

I loved Persona 5 and Fire Emblem and even played a few lesser known Japanese titles like Etrian Odyssey and Riviera. Beyond that I'm not a huge jrpg guy. So E3 was a great way to see what was going on across the Pacific, even if some content raised the occasional eyebrow.

E3 2018 line
2018

As conference attendance grew, E3 got a lot more SD Comic Con-like. Playing demos meant queueing up or booking an appointment (press badge required). Over the 2010s, the show floor changed from being walls of demos to castle walls with demos on the inside. There were occasional exceptions, such as 2K's BL3 extravaganza.

E3 2019 Wolfenstein Youngblood photobooth
2019

Photobooths and swag were big parts of the show, especially in the later years. They were a fun alternative to demo lines but not quite as nice as walking up and trying the new flagship Mario title.

GAME OVER



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