This morning, Microsoft announced the date and place for its E3 press briefing. As always, it’s going to be held at the Galen Theater on the University of Southern California’s campus at 9:30 AM PDT/12:30 PM EDT on June 9th. As with last year, it’s first up, with Ubisoft, EA, and Sony going live later in the day. As we reported on previously, Nintendo is (as they often do) going its own way by broadcasting its briefing online on June 10th at 9 AM PST/12 PM EST.
Not to sound like a broken record, but good on Nintendo for seeking a different model from the current press briefing approach at events like E3 and, while it’s not going to happen this year, I hope Microsoft follows suit in the future. This goes for all the others as well. In spite of Aisha Tyler’s great stage presence, Ubisoft’s briefing is consistently awful and awkward. Sony brought the house down last year with their stance on used games, but the majority of the briefing leading up to that moment was as boring as a dog’s ass.
While attending publishers’ E3 briefings is considered a bit of a hot ticket, it’s really more of a status symbol than anything else. On the executive side of things, it can be a useful opportunity to wheel and deal with colleagues and network one’s site. So, for somebody like our Publisher or Editor in Chief, these events are a goldmine for making connections. For the writers and editors here to cover announcements, it’s at best a grueling slog for little payoff, and at worst a complete waste of time.
Time is one of the most valuable commodities at a large event like E3; there is never enough of it, especially when you’re part of a smaller team trying to play demos and interview developers. It feels like such a missed opportunity that the entire first day is spent doing as much standing around than spent actually hearing about meaningful news from these events. Furthermore, the complete lack of Wi-Fi in these briefings means that you are often the last person able to get any news out about what you’ve just heard about. Once you’re done cutting through that thick slice of irony, remind me again why going to these things is a good idea?
Alas this is never going to change; the video game industry is destined to forever be led by people with little charisma or desire to speak in front of large groups, yet they keep throwing their representatives out on stage and we keep sending ours to watch them drone on about some new peripheral while (let’s be honest) all we care about are trailers for upcoming AAA games.
I won’t be at E3 this year, but of course I will follow its announcements and reveals like every other video game enthusiast. On top of that, I genuinely hope Microsoft (as well as Sony, Ubisoft, EA, and Nintendo) reveals a phenomenal lineup of titles because it’s good for the industry for everyone to be doing well. With that in mind, let’s dream a dream of a future where meaningless press briefings cease to exist and publishers instead focus on the actual products on the show floor, rather than on a stage in front of 1000 disinterested, tired, and hungry games writers.