The Three Es
I felt confident that news like E3 Being Cancelled would be appropriate grist for the sort of mill we operate, even if (as Gabriel suggested) it is a subset slash secret order of gamers that actually gets to attend it. Even then, E3 remains - remained - our people’s most raucous holiday, because that information is not reserved: how each of the "big three" countered the opposition, hidden gems of the show, surprise imports, direct-feed footage, the naked lies and raw spectacle. It’s a lot of fun to watch, but then, I’ve never had to pay for EA’s ten million dollar HD surround theater and then tried with furrowed brow to determine the return on that investment.
As soon as we engaged our minds it made a lot of sense. It’s a big move, but that Goddamn thing essentially arrests the entire industry for months. For that reason alone I’d be glad to see it gone, as much as I’ve enjoyed the annual bacchanal. Each of the next-(or "new") generation systems has increased the cost of development at the same time they have become tightly controlled content distribution channels. GDC is getting larger by the year. At first I thought it was some hardball to obtain concessions of some kind, but the event probably stopped making a sense on a spreadsheet several years ago.
Acting as their own outlets, publishers get much more reliable data about the efficacy of their marketing payload. Trying to project their unsullied, carefully manicured marketing message at E3 is essentially like putting a choice morsel in the bottom of a burlap sack, and then filling the bag with cats. You swing the bag around and around, at which point dizzy felines emerge. Did it work? Hard to say. Oh! Also, the sack costs forty million dollars. There are more intimate spaces that can be created, but this is cost heaped upon cost. And this ransom is being paid to secure fickle enthusiast media! Converting your budget entirely into chips and then putting the whole pile on Red Seven might be a better use. I’m not surprised they want a greater level of control over the venue, and even the attendees themselves.
All it really means for gamers in general is more news more often, outside of arbitrary dates. I knew a Jehovah’s Witness named Hannah in gradeschool, and after learning that she didn’t celebrate birthdays or Christmas as the rest of the class did I imagined her life a miserable parched desert, barren of gifts. She looked at me like I was an idiot and informed me that she got presents all throughout the year.
If you thought I couldn’t tie Jehovah’s Witnesses into this shit, well, you were wrong.
There must have been a time before there was an E3, but that’s not really a part of my experience. Hearing that it’s cancelled, or at any rate will be altered in "format and scale" (read: cancelled) is like hearing that Australia has been cancelled, or that the weak gravitational force is being temporarily suspended. It’s not an event anymore, I don’t even remember how many I’ve been to. It’s like something that cracks through the asphalt and then grows upward. I make it a point to avoid Los Angeles the rest of the year, so it’s always been my presumption that the entire Staples Center recedes below the Earth’s mantle, there to sleep until the warm pavement buckles again in early May.