With the COVID-19 pandemic still causing troubles for every industry in the world, it was no surprise when the ESA announced that E3 2021 would become a digital-only event. With the yearly gathering of developers and fans canceled last year, the ESA needed to do something to uphold tradition moving forward. Sadly, many aren’t enthused with the current plans and that includes ex-Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime.
In an interview with Gamertag Radio, Fils-Aime initially stated that he believes E3 is an important event for the industry and developers. “I think that E3, as an event and a moment in time where new content is shared and celebrated,” he stated, “I think that is truly magical for the global games business.” It’s more that the current digital plans for the event aren’t how he views E3 continuing on.
“I have to say that what I read,” when speaking about how the ESA plans to conduct business this year, “doesn’t sound all that compelling.” He elaborated that while moving to a digital-only structure makes sense, the ESA needs to find some way for players to get their hands on games instead of limiting things to trailers and press-only access.
“If I were king for a day, I’ll tell you how I would do it,” he explained. “I do think doing this digitally is absolutely right…Having said that, I think that the platform holders need to find a way digitally to enable their fans, their players, to experience the content because that’s the key for E3 right – the ability to be playing The Last of Us Part 3 for the first time, or to play that next Breath of the Wild game for the first time, or to play the next great game coming from the new amalgamation of all the Xbox studios.”
Fils-Aime continually notes that if the ESA is unwilling to adapt like this, someone else will. He even pointed to Geoff Keighley, a veteran industry pundit who launched the Steam “Summer of Games” festival last year. An event like that is exactly the type of model that Fils-Aime thinks E3 should evolve into. Why not let people at home experience those new games from the comfort of their own systems?
I find myself agreeing with Fils-Aime wholeheartedly. This is something I’ve been saying about E3 for almost a decade now. I certainly was happy to have the chance to attend in 2019, but there’s no reason why E3 can’t adapt to something like PAX or simply allow people at home the option to download a demo. If those things can happen, E3 may yet have a future.
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