E3 2015: Thoughts For Improvement

E3 took some good steps forward in making an engaging show for consumers. Killer Tofu is here to offer some thoughts on how they could improve E3 even more

E3 Thoughts Header

If you’ve kept up with video game news, by now you are fa­mil­iar with the prover­bial smoke and mir­ror show that E3 tends to be. With promis­es of cut­ting edge con­soles that are bare­ly more pow­er­ful than the last gen to  bull­shots and “game­play” on dev PCs to make false ex­pec­ta­tions of what the end prod­uct will look like. I say all this, with valid rea­son, and yet this E3 has me cau­tious­ly op­ti­mistic.

It al­most feels as if pub­lish­ers and de­vel­op­ers are start­ing to re­al­ize that gamers watch E3 as well. It seemed, over­all, that there was an ac­tu­al hon­est at­tempt to make peo­ple in­ter­est­ed in the games shown. I just hope that this trend con­tin­ues, as the last few E3s have most­ly been a lot of “Why both­er?” It’s that at­ti­tude that caus­es a dis­con­nect be­tween the core au­di­ence of gamers and the com­pa­nies we know and love. I feel like a few moves could be made to­ward mak­ing E3 an over­all bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence for both pre­sen­ters and view­ers alike.

If I may, I’d like to make a few sug­ges­tions for what could be done to change this.

A great first start to sal­vaging cor­po­rate to con­sumer com­mu­ni­ca­tion would be to only show game­play. We’re tired of over‐hyped trail­ers with dub­step and Mt. Dewritos plas­tered all over it. What I care about — some­thing I think most gamers keep at a high­er im­por­tance — is how a game plays. Without a good idea of what a game is go­ing to look like in ac­tion, I don’t know if I want to spend mon­ey on it. Games like Anno 2205 show off what they call game­play, but there’s no real per­son in­ter­act­ing with it. If there was, we’d know bet­ter what the game plays like. Sadly, Ubisoft wasn’t will­ing to take a risk with that and in­stead showed off a video that they said was a save file of an em­ploy­ee, but it was al­ways the same paths, the same planned time‐lapse to show off what their game might look like. Compare that to Platinum Games with Transformers: Devastation. They showed ac­tu­al game play, and stuck to what they knew peo­ple want­ed to see: A tight com­bat sys­tem with a re­al­is­tic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the art style and game play. I am more in­clined to buy the Transformers game now be­cause of this fact. I know what I’m buy­ing and what it’s go­ing to look like in ac­tion.

Another step that should be tak­en is a big­ger fo­cus on in­clud­ing the pub­lic in the show. The biggest dri­ving force be­hind video game sales, and the in­dus­try as a whole, are con­sumers. Without hav­ing a fo­cus on your au­di­ence, you turn some­thing that could be a great way to forge bonds with your com­mu­ni­ty and ex­change that for what is ba­si­cal­ly a beau­ty pageant. We, the gamers, care about what you’re show­ing. We want to be there to ex­pe­ri­ence it for us. Not vic­ar­i­ous­ly through some­body that is paid to be there and sticks to a very strict script. If you want gen­uine in­ter­est in your games and your idea, bring back the pub­lic. The best mar­ket­ing is word‐of‐mouth, hands down. You want more peo­ple talk­ing about things well af­ter E3? Let us in. We’ll do the hard work for you. Not to men­tion it’s a good way for con­sumers to hold com­pa­nies ac­count­able. If some­thing is clear­ly sus­pect, the pub­lic will know about it one way or an­oth­er. Rather than play the weak po­si­tion of hop­ing to cov­er it up by mak­ing an event press only, own up to your mis­takes as com­pa­nies. Be hon­est with your cus­tomers; we promise we’ll try to un­der­stand.

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That be­ing said, there are also those who are of the opin­ion that E3 is an­ti­quat­ed. Like a prover­bial Old Yeller, it needs to be tak­en out back and dealt with. Some com­pa­nies have been out of touch with the core au­di­ence for a very long time. A lot of the things shown are the usu­al sus­pects of trail­ers with noth­ing of sub­stance. We’re tired of the same shal­low promis­es that ul­ti­mate­ly are just emp­ty hype. It’s a shame that com­pa­nies in this day and age of such ad­vance tech­nol­o­gy are so ashamed of their prod­uct that they hide it be­hind CGI trail­ers that look noth­ing like the fi­nal game. It breaks my heart that com­pa­nies feel the pres­sure of “bet­ter” graph­ics as a tool to be used for mar­ket­ing. Showing off a de­vel­op­ment build with high­er res­o­lu­tion as­sets and fil­ter­ing is not only a shame, but it just goes to show how lit­tle faith com­pa­nies have in their own ideas. It de­stroys the con­fi­dence we had in that com­pa­ny or that prod­uct. I don’t want to play a game that looked amaz­ing in the footage but gets an over­all down­grade be­cause of the lim­i­ta­tions of the hard­ware that hap­pens to be the lead de­vel­op­ment plat­form. It’s a cheap trick and a great way to break down the con­nec­tion of trust that to con­sumers is so im­por­tant.

I feel like E3 can be saved, but it’s go­ing to take a lot of ef­fort from the show run­ners and the com­pa­nies that at­tend. I feel like it can go back to be­ing an im­por­tant place to in­ter­face with the au­di­ence. They took a good first step when al­low­ing 5,000 fans to at­tend this year, but who was in­vit­ed? E3 would do well to open this event back to the pub­lic at large. That’s how vi­ral mar­ket­ing works. Get peo­ple ex­cit­ed, get them in there to ac­tu­al­ly play your de­vel­op­ing games, and let them form their own opin­ions based on mer­it. Not the heav­i­ly groomed and care­ful­ly cal­cu­lat­ed show that amounts to lit­tle more than stage mag­ic. We want to buy your prod­ucts, but you have to be hon­est with us. We can tell if some­thing is go­ing to be qual­i­ty or be a flop. Interface with the pub­lic more and you could get a bet­ter idea of what your fans and con­sumers want.

 

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Killer Tofu
Killer Tofu is the only ac­cept­able form of tofu out there. When not writ­ing about games and in­ter­net cul­ture he en­joys long walks on the beach with your mom. But he won’t call her af­ter­wards.
Killer Tofu

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