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Off to E3: Thoughts Before Going

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Today I am packing, and tomorrow I will be boarding a plane for California (with a layover in Texas) for quite possibly the biggest yearly industry event: E3. The Electronic Entertainment Expo is of course where the tone is set for the next year of videogame entertainment. The rampant speculation and surrounding controversies of the show are bound to be the hot topics for the next three weeks, so be prepared to get excited and get your hopes up so they can be dashed by the time the games actually come out.

Many in the industry question the relevancy of E3 in an increasingly inter-connected world. Why physically walk the halls of a convention center when an e-mailed ¬†press release and a YouTube link will also work? Why can’t we just have a website that announces all of the new releases at once? Can’t I cover E3 from afar just as well?

Honestly, I can’t tell you. There’s definitely something worthwhile to covering E3 from a distance. For one thing, it’s cheaper, and for another I think there’s value in having a news source that digs its way through all of the other sources and all of the other hype to try and find the actual real meat of the stories: sort of an information aggregate and distillery. Away from the crowds, a writer doesn’t suffer from the mob mentality, and it’s much harder for a developer to put a code for a year’s worth of Xbox Live under my office chair (at least not without breaking a few laws). Playable demos could be sent on discs, or via VPN to allow me to install on my computer, and screen sharing technology could also allow me to witness live tech demos via Twitch without having to squint from way back in a large theater.

Then again, isn’t there something worthwhile in the physical contact, in actually going out and meeting the developers? It’s a chance to make contacts and actually meet the faces behind the games that often don’t get that much attention. It’s also a chance (however small) fr the smaller game developers to try to blip their way on to the radar of larger games press organizations. Schmoozing is, of course, done, and there’s a chance for new and interesting stories even outside the large stages.

And then there’s the pagentry of everything: The lights, the sounds, the incredible industry media attention all add a legitimacy to the games industry that despite being a multi-billion dollar industry is still clawing its way for respect in the mainstream. Each year E3 makes its way to the large news outlets, showing the world that yes, this is a real industry, and that we are constantly evolving. That’s actually incredibly useful to the industry as a whole, especially when only a few years ago games had to be justified as an art form before the SCOTUS.

Where do I stand on the issue? I’m not sure. This will be my first time attending E3, and as Ben Kuchera at Polygon notes, “Everything else is bullshit leading up to the moments where you have those three wonderful things: A game, access to a person helping to bring that game to life, and a controller so you can play it for yourself. That’s where the real work happens, and it’s lovely. The rest of circus is still there, but you don’t have to pay attention to it.” There’s definitely something worthwhile to actually being there, but does that all actually even out? It is, after all according to the title of that article, a “loud, expensive, sexist and violent” event.

Since it’s my first time attending, and I am sure it will be formative. I’ll learn a lot, probably mess up quite a bit, but that’s all a part of learning. I won’t even primarily be going for Armed Gamer. Instead, you can expect to see my work behind the camera for Following The Nerd, though of course I’ll be updating the Facebook Page with photos and I’ll try to throw in some of my own writing here whenever I can. While I’m gone, stick around: I have a guest editor who will be keeping my freelancers in check and there will be continual updates from them throughout the week as well! This is going to be a long, promising week, and one you’ll definitely be hearing about one way or another.

About Stephen Crane

Stephen was hooked by the NES at a very young age and never looked back. He games on a daily basis and is currently trying to climb his way up the ranked ladder on League of Legends! Outside of the video game world he actually likes running and owns a rapidly growing collection of toed shoes. Stephen Crane is the owner of Armed Gamer.

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