The all-digital version of E3 2021 has come to a close after several days of reveals and reactions.
We’ve gotten a lot of great news out of this event, but also some signs that a few things need to change leading into whatever comes with next year.
Let’s take a look back at some of the most notable things to come from this year’s event, as well as an idea of what the ESA can improve upon for next year.
If You’re Going To Have A Showcase, Then Have A Showcase
Perhaps one of the biggest letdowns surrounding E3 2021 is the promise of something big from publishers that came up short. This came up multiple times over the course of the event, making fans not only feel let down, but wondering why the companies were booked in the first place.
For example, Bandai Namco promised a showcase following Nintendo’s big presentation yesterday. However, only one title – the horror game Dark Pictures: House of Ashes – was focused on. No Elder Ring, no Klonoa Collection, no Pac-Man celebration. It seems as if Bandai Namco could’ve said time if it explained what it was going to feature right off the bat. Capcom probably fared worse. It promised an E3 showcase all its own, but all it did was talk about titles that it had previously announced. No surprise releases, aside from the news that DLC for Resident Evil 8 Village was in the works. And nothing on the plate for 2022. More could’ve been done here.
But perhaps the biggest thing was Take-Two. The company could’ve easily taken the stage to reveal games like NBA 2K22 and possibly even a hint at what’s to come in the BioShock universe. Instead, it held a panel talking about diversity in the video game industry. Don’t get us wrong, that’s a good thing to discuss. But…at E3? It’s better saved for its own showcase or perhaps even Game Developers Conference. People don’t watch E3 to hear about what changes need to be made in the industry, they look for actual games that can change things.
Talk about a missed opportunity.
E3 Needs To Be Friendly To Smaller Outlets Again
While the ESA had a unique format when it came to its digital approach this year, it seemed somewhat stingy about sharing it around.
A report from Kotaku indicated that the company only accepted 100 of its 1,300 submissions for co-streamers, mainly focusing on bigger sites to get attention. Not only that, but Geoff Keighley, who hosted an impressive Summer Game Fest presentation last week with a number of fun reveals, was warned that there could be trouble for co-streaming the show. The ESA has since lightened up on this stance, but this indicates a problem for future showcases if they lean towards a digital front.
While journalists are still a vital part of this show, the streaming audience can’t be ignored.
Millions from around the world watch, and getting any sort of exposure to the show is important. That includes getting streaming partners on-board, no matter what they might have to say about the event. The ESA completely blew this in that regard, and though everyone still talked about the show, it didn’t get anywhere near the amount of coverage it could have. For future events, the ESA just needs to lighten up on admittance. Allow the small outlets back.
Allow streamers and podcasts to do their thing. And, for crying out loud, leave the public attendees out and make it an industry show again. Otherwise, it could become a relic to the past as EA and Sony and other such companies continue to do their own thing.
The Xbox Game Pass Continues To Be A Significant Value
Okay, onto games, sorry about that. Microsoft had a hell of a showcase during its E3 conference, even though we didn’t have the opportunity to attend in person. They had a number of great games, including the earth-shaking Forza Horizon 5, which should be a swell racing game this fall.
But the real value here? Xbox Game Pass, which will continue to see a number of excellent titles over the next year. This includes big exclusives like Starfield and Redfall, as well as third party releases like Hades, the Yakuza saga and Back 4 Blood. This really opens up the potential of the program, which offers so much for just $10 a month, or $15 combined with Xbox Live. It’s really something.
And its growth will likely continue, as Microsoft tries to expand it outside of its core Xbox platforms. How has yet to be seen, but it’s definitely going places. Now the real question is if Sony can keep up with a similar program. PlayStation Plus is great, but more is obviously needed. Phil Spencer and his team are definitely going places.
The Games Are The Thing, Just Ask Nintendo
When it came to stealing the show at E3, a few companies “got it” – they just showed off the games. Ubisoft had a great showcase doing just that, as did Microsoft. But Nintendo, as expected, stole the show. It brought back a number of great franchises like Metroid and Mario Party for fans to enjoy, as well as a new look at the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which looks stunning.
No, it didn’t have the Switch Pro; and for some inexplicable reason, Bayonetta 3 was a no-show.
But there was a lot to make up for it, including surprises like Metroid Dread and even Cruis’n Blast, which looks like a nice return to form for the racing series. And it even brought back Advance Wars, something we didn’t see coming out of left field.
Even Limited Run Games had surprises we didn’t expect, like the return of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood after thirty years. Heck, we even smiled a little when the cult favorite Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties got announced for new platforms…as awful as it is.
So that about covers it. Games dominated the show, and managed to overshadow the let- downs. But the ESA has serious work to do when it comes to making E3 a contender again.
Hopefully it’ll get the job done.
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