The Entertainment Software Association is reportedly considering an overhaul of E3 that would possibly turn E3 2020 into a “fan, media, and influencer festival.”
This information comes from Game Daily who say that the ESA is responding to feedback from publishers and lobbying groups which are encouraging them to consider what seems to be an overhaul of E3 that will turn it into a fan event that uses celebrities and influencers as attractions that are equal to, or perhaps even greater then, the games themselves. There were talks of paying celebrities for their appearances, but that was apparently shot down in what we assume was the light fight for good taste.
Based on leaked presentation information designed to pitch and refine this conversion, it sounds like the plan is to add a series of “experience hubs” that will operate alongside traditional E3 booths. These booths could seemingly contain everything from actors and influencers competing in games to athletes playing sports titles (although the details of that aren’t clear at this time). Obtained information suggests that the plan is to offer “exclusive/appointment only activations for select attendees who will create buzz and FOMO.” It sounds like you might also be able to start booking appointments for certain demos and events (which is something that Nintendo played with last year).
The ESA is also considering adding 10,000 gamer badge attendees to the event in order to allow more of the general public to get into the show. While this wouldn’t even put E3 in the running for the largest game show in the world in terms of general public attendees, it does emphasize their apparent attempt to take the event more in that direction.
Here’s where things get really dark. It seems that the proposed plans suggest promoting something known as “queuetainment” which will not only allow vendors to market directly to people waiting in line but even “have access to consumer data captured through the app or have a captive audience as people wait in line for demos.” The pitch also includes a reference to exploiting “The Power of Social Good.” If you think we’re sensationalizing with the use of the word “exploiting” there, then just know it also includes a line which suggests “exploiting Millennial and Generation Z propensity for giving back.”
Wow. For a moment, let’s look past the talks of exploiting people’s desire to help others and the terrifying future where you not only have to pay to go to a convention to spend most of your time waiting in line but have some marketing firm siphon your personal information while you do it.
Instead, let’s focus on what is rapidly becoming the end of E3 as we know it and possibly the end of the event altogether. Frankly, we’d prefer a world where companies release Direct-style announcements throughout the year, and given that Sony and EA have either ended or drastically restructured their involvement with E3, we really do think that’s a possibility. The question now is whether or not E3 can linger on as a fan and influencer event remains up for debate.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.