E3 is over and we’ve had the weekend to reflect on the busy flurry of gaming news and trailers. I’m not alone in thinking that this year’s event was largely an unmemorable one. As I said last week, the show stealers were Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs and Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us. Other than that it was a lot of stuff we had seen last year, or largely unimaginative takes on several titles we’ve seen before, just with a 3 or a 4 tagged on the end.
So what was E3 2012 good for? I’m not entirely sure really, but I’m not going to write one of those rants asking about E3’s purpose and if it is necessary. I think it’s a glitzy, overly-expensive mega-venue to announce and showcase the biggest and best titles of the next year. As an attention drawing podium it can’t really get much bigger. It’s great for building hype and passion for new games during an annual spectacle that should be a treasure trove of greatness for anyone with a passing interest in games.
Unfortunately it wasn’t used in this way at all this year. Microsoft waffled on about sports and non-games related games console services and Nintendo went crazy and told us nothing we didn’t know about the Wii U last year. Sony brought more of a games focus to the table, but didn’t really shock or surprise us with anything new. I won’t lie, I’m not a big fan of Quantic Dream’s games and so Beyond: Two Souls didn’t twist my happy glands in the same way it has for a lot of other people. The demo still looked impressive though.
I feel that E3 2012 was just a massive wasted opportunity. I know that the Internet has made the world smaller and can make announcements just as big as those made on a giant show floor, but it still lacks the wow factor that a big event like E3 can convey. If the game giants like Nintendo and Microsoft aren’t going to utilise opportunities such as E3 to drop bombshells of awe and spectacle, should they even bother attending such events? Nintendo did a really bad job this year. They basically said “The Wii U is still a thing that you will see one day and we have changed the controller slightly.” With no hint of even a price or release date, Nintendo can’t be surprised that the reception to their virtual fireworks finale was a limp as a wet crisp.
It’s around this time of year when analysts, bloggers and devs start to wheel out the old ‘do we really need E3?’ arguments. I say that we do need it because it gives us something to look forward to in terms of potentially ground shaking technological reveals in games. I just think we need to review if we actually need to have Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony in attendance if they are just going to waste time.
If Reggie Fils-Aime genuinely thought that he was presenting a strong Nintendo conference this year, I think the company needs a restructuring. It was like watching an uncle retelling Christmas cracker jokes from last year.