How the internet and the pandemic ended the great mass of video games

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The ghost of E3, the largest fair dedicated to video games in the world, continues to haunt the industry, for which the month of June remains an unavoidable date.

For video game fans around the world, June is a special time of the year.. In fact, it is with the approach of summer that the industry presents all the projects in which they will immerse themselves in the coming months.

Logical since it is the period during which it takes place, in Los Angeles, Electronic Entertainment Exhibition (E3), the great mass of video games organized by the ESA. A short week in which conferences follow each other at a frenetic pace. And often at odd hours for those who follow them in Europe. Beyond the conferences, E3 is also the opportunity for the main video game players to test the demos of their next productions in an audience of journalists and a few happy.

Every year, E3 shows what the planet will play in the next few months or in the next year. But the machine has been seized for several years.

The fair is an opportunity for publishers to feed the dream machine. Trailers highlight graphical breakthroughs for the latest blockbuster games, announcements roll in, and release dates for upcoming hits are finally revealed. Every year, E3 shows what the planet will play in the next few months or in the next year.

seized machine

But it’s been several years since the machine is seized. The first stone in the puddle was launched by Nintendo, which, undoubtedly tired of paying the huge bill that a conference in the hall entails, had skipped the 2013 edition. Since then, the Japanese giant continues to offer a physical stand to the public. , but pre-records the conferences it broadcasts. Guaranteed visibility at a lower cost. And other actors have adopted this way of doing things: building on the momentum of E3, while holding its own side event: PlayStation, Xbox, EA, Ubisoft… everyone is getting rid of the Californian appointment while clinging to the month of June.

“It’s true that even beyond the environmental cost of a trade show like E3, switching from a physical conference to an online conference offers huge savings.”

Nicholas van Zeebrock

Solvay Business School Professor

The health crisis has been responsible for sowing the last nail in the coffin room. Cancellation in 2020, distancing the following year and cancellation in 2022. E3 is dead, long live E3!

This does not prevent this June to remain an essential moment for the video game industry. On the still hot ashes of E3, Geoff Keighley, a specialized journalist, proposed to hold another online event. baptized “Summer Games Festival”brings together, for the third year, half a dozen congresses to which must be added a dozen more that are held on the sidelines.

Direct marketing

“It’s true that even beyond the environmental cost of a show like E3, switching from a physical conference to an online conference can save you a lot of money“, considers Nicolas van Zeebroeck, professor at the Solvay Business School. “This form of direct marketing is also very practical to address the general public without going through an intermediary. Instead, we lose everything that matters in a B2B program: networking, fundraising and meetings in order to establish collaborations”.

Who knows if E3 will recover after such a long absence. As much as everyone seems to have already cried and is accepting his disappearance. However, the ESA believes in it. Through the voice of its president Stanley Pierre-Louis, interviewed by the Washington Post, the organization assures its enthusiasm “at the idea of ​​returning in 2023 with both a digital and face-to-face event.”

Hoping for, the absence of E3 this year does not prevent the boiling of the industry in mid June. Witness flanked ads for upcoming titles.

halftone conferences

Despite a large number of game presentations, the opening of the Summer Games Festival this Thursday, not many people will be excited. The least we can say is that the evening lacked originality. Three times we had the impression of being in front of the same game: “The Calysto Protocol”, “Fort Solis” and “Routine”, presented a few minutes apart, are inspired by the iconic space horror trilogy “Dead Space”. “. We probably expected more boldness. and it is not the presentation of “Aliens Dark Descent” that will come to contradict us.

Demonstration “The Calysto Protocol”

The biggest announcement of the conference probably didn’t bother anyone as it is the remastering of “The Last of Us” – more zombies – redesigned to harness the power of next-gen PC and consoles.

As followed, the breath of fresh air came from indie game submissions in the second part of the afternoon. Let’s cite for example “Time Flies”, a game that one would think made under Microsoft Paint that allows the player to embody a fly with a more than limited life expectancy and that must complete its list of things to do before dying.

Trailer “Time Flies”

A humorous ode to “Carpe Diem”. Or the magnificent “Náiade” in which we control an aquatic nymph whose mission is to bring life back to the watercourses polluted by human beings. But the great favorite of the evening is without a doubt “The Plucky Squire” in which the player embodies a brave squire who evolves into a children’s book. Until the day he runs away from work and lands on a desk in settings you’d swear came from Pixar’s most beautiful animated films.

Trailer “The Brave Squire”

The highlight of the show is due to be pressed this Sunday night, during the Xbox conference, which we hope won’t be too generous on space horror games.

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