Published on May 2nd, 2020 | by gareth0
Why Gamers Should Be Excited Over The Pending Virtual Summer Game Fest
As somebody who works in the media; the current world situation has definitely changed my workload and summer/fall planning.
I am always reminded though of that line from the Duran Duran song “Ordinary World” where Simon Le Bon sings “Ours is just a little sorrow” as it underscores that whatever inconveniences and work interruptions I’m experience are paltry when compared with the massive amounts of suffering that is going on in the world.
Naturally the loss of shows such as Phoenix Fan Fusion, E3, and SDCC to name but a few are impactful not only from a personal enjoyment standpoint but from a business standpoint. I enjoy doing my panels, meeting people, and of course taking the pictures and video, doing our coverage and interviews, and seeing all the amazing things these conventions and many others offer.
As we get into the warm months in our Phoenix office; this is even more difficult as there are no movie screeners and with the warm weather and isolation combined; it was beginning to look like a very long and difficult upcoming few months.
Then the news arrived that Microsoft would be showing off new games for their pending new Xbox console followed by the news that there will be a series of virtual events from game publishers that will essentially offset what we would normally get at E3.
Aside from the excitement over seeing what will be revealed and having something new to look forward to covering; I was extremely intrigued by the prospect that some of the presentations would involve demos.
I remember back years ago to EA’s presentation prior to E3 where Battlefield Hardline was revealed.
We had someone covering the showcase as my wife and I traveled that evening so we could be in California and rested before starting day one of the show the next morning.
EA then revealed that following their showcase the demo for the game would be available for all to play. Those in attendance were able to go into another room and begin playing will those of us at home raced to get the demo downloaded and jump into the action. This was even trickier for me as I had only a couple of hours before we hit the road for our drive to CA.
I was able to get a few missions in and definitely thought this was a very nice and unexpected treat and set the stage well for all the amazing things that we saw and covered in the days ahead.
I use that as an example of what I hope might happen during the upcoming virtual series as playable demos were announced as part of the plans.
Naturally I would prefer to be running around the Los Angeles Convention Center going from booth to booth, playing the demos, taking pictures and video, getting the goodies from the booth visits, and seeing all of the amazingly detailed sets that are part of the E3 experience.
However this is a very interesting and intriguing option. While I do not think it will replace the convention experience going forward as there are simply some business aspects which cannot be done as easily virtually; it is a very interesting scenario that we will see visited more and more in the future.
One only needs to look at Sony who has moved away from doing showcases at conventions in favor of their virtual State of Play to announce upcoming games as poof of this.
With cost being a big factor in regards to convention attendance it was no surprise that the prospect of an organized virtual series has so many big names listed as taking part. Travel, floor space, props, and the numerous other costs have largely been eliminated for an event like this but of course the determining factor will be seen if the events generate buzz similar to what occurs at a live show.
While there may be under 70,000 people at E3; the massive amount of readership that is generated by outlets coverage and social media ranges well into the high millions on a conservative estimate and fuels future coverage all of which helps build anticipation towards the release of the products.
While it is unclear exactly when traditional conventions will resume and if they will undoubtedly be different than the formats we have been used to prior to the pandemic; at least we have a series of events to look forward to and I for one am extremely excited and interested to see what the developers have planned for us.