E3 2022 is rumored to be cancelled, but this could do more harm than good to the industry when looking beyond surface level.
A E3 it has been a staple in the gaming industry and gaming community since it launched in the 90s. It has seen many changes in its form, but perhaps none as drastic as last year's all-digital event. The conference has certainly seen some ups and downs over the years, although it seems to be generally accepted that it has been less exciting in recent years - with many arguing that E3 should come to an end soon.
With the news that the E3 2022 It won't physically happen this year and rumors circulating that a digital one might not happen either, it's starting to look like the conference could already have its final event.
This is unfortunate because the industry needs E3 or, at the very least, something comparable to it. If E3 disappears, things would probably work normally on the surface, but its absence would likely have big ramifications that wouldn't be easily measurable.
What E3 brings to the table
In the current scenario that gaming finds itself in due to the ongoing global pandemic, live-streamed events and announcements have become extremely common, with most studios often demonstrating that they have managed to adapt to the more online-focused environment.
This was extremely evident with E3 2021 being fully digital, each participating studio had a live streamed event that went smoothly from a technical point of view.Read also
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That success, combined with the fact that some big game companies like Sony don't even attend E3 anymore, has a lot of fans wondering why E3 needs to exist if studios can essentially put their own mini E3s for themselves.
On the surface, this question makes a lot of sense. Clearly, the studios are capable of doing this, but it ignores many other values that E3 has.
The conference is not just about trailers and announcements, as the impact of bringing everyone in the industry together for a week cannot be underestimated. Connections are made, partnerships are discussed, and many smaller creators, whether studios, journalists or streamers, are able to get in front of more people than would otherwise be possible.
Even before the pandemic, much of the gaming industry was based around online interaction, making it difficult for newcomers to enter the space, especially if they don't know any of the major players.
Giving small studios and PR agencies the chance to be in the spotlight once a year during showcases and on the show floor is good for the growth of the industry. If all that goes away in favor of mainstream corporate livestreams, there won't be many options for those trying to start something new.
While the E3 2021 digital lounge was lacking in many key areas, there was still room for many of those conference moments.
As the future of in-person events gets darker with each passing day, it is important and healthy for the industry to have some sort of major event for everyone to come together for all the reasons listed above.
That doesn't mean E3 is specifically the solution, as long as some other big industry event could take its place in case the ESA announces the show's end. Whether digital or physical, there is much merit in keeping the E3 working, even if it is not immediately apparent from the outside.
Fortunately, the ESA can recognize this and keep things going, perhaps with a better online showroom.