Microsoft Announces E3 Briefing – Do We Still Need to Go to These?

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This morning, Microsoft announced the date and place for its E3 press briefing. As always, it’s going to be held at the Galen Theater on the University of Southern California’s campus at 9:30 AM PDT/12:30 PM EDT on June 9th. As with last year, it’s first up, with Ubisoft, EA, and Sony going live later in the day. As we reported on previously, Nintendo is (as they often do) going its own way by broadcasting its briefing online on June 10th at 9 AM PST/12 PM EST.

Not to sound like a broken record, but good on Nintendo for seeking a different model from the current press briefing approach at events like E3 and, while it’s not going to happen this year, I hope Microsoft follows suit in the future. This goes for all the others as well. In spite of Aisha Tyler’s great stage presence, Ubisoft’s briefing is consistently awful and awkward. Sony brought the house down last year with their stance on used games, but the majority of the briefing leading up to that moment was as boring as a dog’s ass.

While attending publishers’ E3 briefings is considered a bit of a hot ticket, it’s really more of a status symbol than anything else. On the executive side of things, it can be a useful opportunity to wheel and deal with colleagues and network one’s site. So, for somebody like our Publisher or Editor in Chief, these events are a goldmine for making connections. For the writers and editors here to cover announcements, it’s at best a grueling slog for little payoff, and at worst a complete waste of time.

e3 sony

“Yay! Sony has an amazing new console. I’m so glad I haven’t eaten in 14 hours.”

Time is one of the most valuable commodities at a large event like E3; there is never enough of it, especially when you’re part of a smaller team trying to play demos and interview developers. It feels like such a missed opportunity that the entire first day is spent doing as much standing around than spent actually hearing about meaningful news from these events. Furthermore, the complete lack of Wi-Fi in these briefings means that you are often the last person able to get any news out about what you’ve just heard about. Once you’re done cutting through that thick slice of irony, remind me again why going to these things is a good idea?

Alas this is never going to change; the video game industry is destined to forever be led by people with little charisma or desire to speak in front of large groups, yet they keep throwing their representatives out on stage and we keep sending ours to watch them drone on about some new peripheral while (let’s be honest) all we care about are trailers for upcoming AAA games.

I won’t be at E3 this year, but of course I will follow its announcements and reveals like every other video game enthusiast. On top of that, I genuinely hope Microsoft (as well as Sony, Ubisoft, EA, and Nintendo) reveals a phenomenal lineup of titles because it’s good for the industry for everyone to be doing well. With that in mind, let’s dream a dream of a future where meaningless press briefings cease to exist and publishers instead focus on the actual products on the show floor, rather than on a stage in front of 1000 disinterested, tired, and hungry games writers.

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(Senior Writer)

Born in 1844, I bring a lot of gaming experience to the table. In my day-job, I work for a public library which carries, amongst other formats, video games. I'm very interested in observing and documenting the growing pains this industry is experiencing as it is dragged kicking and screaming towards something resembling maturity. Join me!

  • Tony D

    I didn’t go to Sony’s briefing last year, but I was at Microsoft’s, and there IS free Wi-Fi at the Galen Center. Of course, anything I live-tweeted about in person wasn’t any different than what was tweeted by people watching the Live Stream.

    It is fun though.

  • Frankie Demetrius

    Maybe since I never been to one I can’t speak on it but I will try. I have always dreamed that E3 was an honor to attend. As a gamer I thought of it as gamings super bowl. Just best news of the year videos and like minded people…. Goodness I couldn’t imagine a better place. As a game writer I thought there would be equal enjoyment. Listening to the folks at IGN podcast about how they can’t wait and Phil Spencer discussing how it’ll be Bout the games a d gamers was equally impressive for MS. But like I said… Never been there maybe I am wrong?

  • Grant Abbott

    If you think E3 is boring you most likely prefer casual games or aren’t a gamer at all. E3 is always exciting to hear about new and current games from all the publishers. It’s the one time of year where it’s ok to be a fanboy (though I usually like all 3). I wish we just had a big fight for that week than went back to playing games but nope just people trolling each other all year long like a bunch of scrubs instead of playing games.

    • MikeEaton

      E3 itself is anything but boring. It’s an incredible environment with a ton of amazing things to see and do. That’s my point — I’d so much rather spend my time visiting booths and actually talking to devs than go to these press events that are livestreamed anyway.

      • Grant Abbott

        I can see that. I don’t really care if it’s live or not. Main advantage of it being live is for fan reaction (Zelda Twilight Princess, Halo 3, and last year’s Sony DRM Burn). But guess you also get moments like Wonderbook, Wii Music/Wii Fit and everything Kinect that is so lame you start to hear crickets lol.

        • Drew

          “A shame” that Microsoft will be coming back this year with the games, cause I kinda enjoyed those Kinect demos in that “trainwreck” kind of way.

  • Kamille

    E3 is like second Christmas to me. I watch every conference, every pre and post show and read as many articles as possible. E3 is always exciting.

    • Drew

      I get why Nintendo is doing the Directs in terms of saving money… but it’s so UNFUN. There will never be another Twilight Princess moment, stuff that will live on in gaming history from Nintendo, where the crowd just erupts. I feel like that’s why Mega Man fell so flat last year, instead of grown men hugging and crying, we had this laggy stream of silence.

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