Xbox Games Showcase and Summer Game Fest are still missing one major E3 factor

The gaming landscape has evolved significantly over the years, with many events vying for the attention of enthusiasts worldwide. Notably, the Xbox Games Showcase captured the approval of nearly half the participants in a recent survey, heralding Microsoft’s event as nothing short of a masterpiece featuring exhilarating reveals. On the other hand, the main event of Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest, while satisfactory, seemed to dwell more on previously announced titles. Despite the high points of these showcases, a longing for the grandeur of E3’s spectacle persists within the gaming community.

The E3 Experience: An Irreplaceable Spectacle

Remembering the days when E3 was the highlight of the year, many, including myself, would mark our calendars, ensuring we wouldn’t miss any moment of the event. E3 was more than just game reveals; it was a festival where the physical presence of developers, cosplayers, and even cars on stage added a layer of excitement and spectacle unmatched by any other gaming event. The energy was palpable, both for those attending in person and viewers at home. The announcements, such as the Xbox One X’s unveiling, were moments of collective joy and excitement that resonated with audiences worldwide. E3 symbolized a zenith in gaming celebration, epitomizing the community’s passion in a way that current events seem to struggle to emulate.

The Transition to Digital: Sommer Game Fest’s Rise

With the advent of the pandemic, traditional events pivoted to digital formats, marked by Summer Game Fest stepping into the void left by E3. However, this transition appears to have diluted the once electric atmosphere, with much of the personal interaction and physical showcases that lent E3 its charm now absent. While digital events allow for a focus on game trailers and announcements, they often leave little room for the developers, those at the heart of these experiences, to share their passion and insights directly with the audience. Although initiatives by Ubisoft Forward and Xbox Wire to provide in-depth looks into game development offer glimpses into the creative process, the lack of a physical stage and audience interaction cannot replicate the excitement of past E3 events.

A Costly Endeavor for Exposure

The digital arena of Summer Game Fest is not without its financial demands. Reports reveal staggering costs associated with featuring trailers in the event, with prices soaring up to half a million dollars for a 2.5-minute spot. While these high costs may translate into significant exposure, they potentially limit the diversity and depth of content presented, encouraging a focus on trailers over in-depth presentations or developer diaries. This formula, while efficient, misses the mark on delivering the full spectacle that once defined gaming’s premier events.

Reimagining the Gaming Showcase

Despite the unlikely return of E3’s extravagant live shows, avenues remain to infuse current events with some of the former magic. Giving developers a stage, virtual or otherwise, to share their stories and excitement could recapture some of the personal touch that’s been lost. Similarly, events like The Game Awards, while commendable in their efforts to celebrate the industry, could benefit from allowing developers more time to highlight their work and the stories behind their creations.

Moving forward, adjusting the focus of these events to celebrate not just the games but the people behind them could enrich the experience for everyone involved. Creating space for more in-depth developer stories could help offset the absence of physical showcases, capturing a bit of the spirit that made events like E3 so memorable.

As the gaming industry continues to navigate this new landscape, there’s a collective hope for a future that not only showcases the latest and greatest in gaming but also celebrates the craft and community behind every title. The evolution of events like Summer Game Fest and The Game Awards presents an opportunity to redefine what a gaming showcase can be, prioritizing not just the games themselves but the individuals who bring them to life.

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