Sony have recently made their decision to not attend next year’s E3 public and therefore official. While a number of PlayStation loyalists are crushed about not having another dour The Last Of Us 2 demo to obsess over, the Japanese-based corporation’s refusal to attend gaming’s biggest party is a welcome one that more publishers should follow.
As the video game industry’s most prominent exhibition for debuting new titles, trailers and scripted gameplay, E3 is an annual juggernaut that gamers always eagerly anticipate. It’s also consistently the biggest source of disgruntlement with thousands of people complaining online about vague release dates, bizarre presentations and anti-consumer business practices usually from EA.
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Designed to make you pre-order unfinished goods that hundreds of people have slaved over and made sacrifices for in toxic working conditions, E3 is every businessman’s most opportune moment to prey. Instead of being regarded as people, you are viewed as nothing more than a cattle of wallets which need to be skinned and have your cash removed – an immoral outlook which is embodied by the pre-order, deluxe editions and microtransactions bullsh*t that has plagued the industry.
Although a small number of championed companies like Naughty Dog still earn respect for being decent and showcasing material which closely resembles the final product they intend to sell, a lot of the marketing made for E3 is lies. Watch Dogs, No Man’s Sky and Sea Of Thieves are merely a few of the most infamous examples of highly anticipated titles being released without the graphical finesse or content that was promised.
However, while the week long event being a farce of dishonesty is bad, E3 is always at its worst when it wastes your time and insults your intelligence with pointless ‘celebrity’ cameos and humiliating dance segments involving some unknown lip-syncing pop star. While these interview/interactive moments are said to be done for variety and to mercifully give you a break from the onslaught of video games you actually want to see, the real reason for their existence is because publishers never have enough content to fill their time-slot. And this is precisely why more companies should follow Sony in not feeling obliged to be present at every E3.
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Last year, Sony’s showing was a disaster. True, The Last Of Us 2, Ghost Of Tsushima and Insomniac’s Spider-Man all looked very pretty and impressive, but the presentation was a padded bore crammed with pretentious live music and a panel of talking heads making awkward jokes to fill time. Sony really didn’t need to be there considering how much more successful the PlayStation 4 was and still is compared to the competition, and their ill-thought-out presentation was proof they knew they had hardly anything to show. With a lack of new exclusives for the PS4 again being abundantly clear, they have thankfully decided this time to spare us of having to watch a man’s face turn blue due to blowing on a flute for an obnoxious amount of time.
Yet Sony wasn’t the only the one who didn’t need to be there. Square Enix bored everybody multiple times with the same confusing Kingdom Hearts 3 trailers, and Bethesda’s hour-long presentation was an insomniac curing experience made for nothing more than to prematurely confirm that Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6 are in development – games everybody already knew were being made, and are still very far away. Neither Elder Scrolls 6 or Starfield will be ready for gameplay demos at E3 2019, so Bethesda more than anybody should mirror Sony’s decision to avoid being the joke Square Enix was with Kingdom Hearts 3, and currently are with their Final Fantasy 7 remake.
E3 is a battlefield of suits fighting over your money, and it’s a war which should only feature competitors when they have weapons and a reason to fight. Sony didn’t have much to show last year and are making the right decision by not repeating their mistake, a smart move fellow companies like Bethesda should follow. That way E3 can be less quantity and more quality, and publishers can showcase video games when they’re ready and near complete so we get a more accurate look at what we’re being sold.
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