A week has passed since E3 2021 and we can already draw conclusions from the event. The industry has long accumulated its best announcements in June, the month that transitions between the middle of each semester. This year E3 returned after many rumors that it was going to be a paid event or that it was simply going to disappear, and the truth is that its return has been bittersweet.
Despite the fact that most of the important announcements now accumulate in Nintendo Directs, State of Play or the Game Awards themselves, the event generated expectations and brought together practically the entire community to watch streams from Microsoft, Ubisoft, Nintendo, Devolver Digital and others. major brands. However, the vast majority of announcements were disappointing, not precisely because the games were bad, but because of the characteristics and context of the games.
Affected by the pandemic
And it is that at E3 media megatons will be announced that are talked about for months, as was the case with Keanu Reeves and Cyberpunk 2077. Then it does not matter if the game goes wrong or right (it went wrong), since in these conventions the important thing is to generate hype and expectations that you may not be able to reach. At least that is the conclusion that we can draw from the reactions of the fans to the different conferences of this E3, the players prefer marketing at E3.
Only Microsoft and Nintendo have had more positive reactions than negative, certainly their conferences had new and striking content, but the rest were not as bad as we might suppose from the reactions and comments that are read in forums and social networks.
– Miketroid Dread (@ItsTheRocketeer) June 14, 2021
As we anticipated a few weeks ago, the pandemic has led the studios to delay titles, reserve forces for smaller projects, reorganize their work structure and other actions that have basically made there less risky projects and more “easy” titles as a sequel from a known franchise. That is why they are doomed to disappoint, because the demand is higher but work and development is very difficult in times of pandemic.
This divorce between the expectations of the players and what the studios can barely offer leads to a reality clash that leaves the viewer with a bad taste in their mouths and a feeling of having been excited about nothing. The memes have not been long in coming and these were made in a derogatory way regarding the vast majority of conferences, even about the Summer Game Fest, which does not even belong to E3.
Frustration and disappointment
The reactions can be seen especially in regular communities such as the Vandal forums, those on Reddit, the anonymous comments of 4chan and the Twitch chat or comment box of any streamer or YouTuber who is covering the event in an impromptu way. We can also visit hashtags like the #NintendoDirect and read them first hand. In general there is a failure for everyone except Microsoft, Nintendo also sneaks among those who have positive reactions, but not too many.
Not only the fans reacted badly, but also many specialized media such as Hobby Consoles, Eurogamer the Kotaku, they called E3 disappointing, it seems that almost a hundred games is not enough. That is why it is clear that an E3 without a viral news like that Cyberpunk 2077 announcement or the one from Final Fantasy VII Remake it will always qualify as “disappointment”.
— Jorx ✨ (@jorxnews) June 15, 2021
Honestly, there were low-level conferences (Capcom and Gearbox could have saved the trouble), but the big haters (Ubisoft, Capcom, and Square Enix) announced new titles, new DLCs, and showed new trailers, but nothing was up to the standard. expected, so they were the target of the taunts.
But what would have been up to the task? It is difficult to answer this question because really this is what it is and it seems that the community has gotten used to the cinematic announcement of a AAA that changes their lives when there is already plenty of content to play for months and many games that are still waiting for our backlog that we dust them off.
Very high expectations
So there is plenty of hype, there is always a desire to listen to or see the dream game at E3, but it seems that it is impossible to satisfy the demand for large projects, just as the demand for electronic products far exceeds production. And it does not seem that, as disappointing as an E3 is, this is going to change. Next year there will be another and the expectation will be the same or higher.
Addiction to hype is very common, it already happens in other industries such as cinema, but this seems to take better than the video game industry the creation of mega-productions every month. And the most curious thing is that the best games are not usually those that are accompanied by the mountain of hype, but those that arrive silently and are even rejected in principle as happened with Hades, later game of the year in various events.
In this way, it is easy to make a diagnosis and a treatment. Normally we “prescribe” it only for companies, but in this case it is also up to the player and the community to adjust expectations. An E3 does not magically make games appear out of nowhere or that developers have more than 24 hours a day to work, it is an important event and surely all the studios have worked to offer a good compilation of deliveries, but it is not realistic to expect big ads always
And even more so after Cyberpunk 2077, the forcing a launch and the crunch have confirmed, in case it was not clear, that exploiting your developers to reach the deadline does not usually go well. If those who put pressure are the fans instead of the executives it does not change the panorama much, the games take time and the good ones even more.
United by marketing
Of course, ESA needs to seriously rethink E3, if the vast majority of studios have nothing to show, either due to lack of creativity, time, money or all of the above, there is no point organizing a four-day E3.
The best example is Capcom, a studio in top form releasing games from time to time and all with the favor of criticism and good sales. However, they were presented at E3 with four titles that had already been announced and are even playable, the Resident Evil developer had absolutely nothing new to show and still received a solo lecture that made us lose 30 minutes of our lives.
We don’t think Capcom is holding anything back, this is what they have today and it’s normal, their new projects are in an early development phase and they can’t show anything, but then why go to E3? We have enough with part of the community thinking that games grow on trees, it does not help that half of the conferences had an air of “meeting that could have been an email”.
We can assume that many developers also prefer to say “present” even though criticism later rains down for a bad presentation, we are not so sure that there is no bad publicity, but it seems that several marketing directors saw with good eyes giving the green light to a presentation with almost no new content.
In any case, it seems that the hype is part of the whole industry gear, we could be better and adjust expectations. E3 could be better and only organize everything when there are things to announce (for something Sony and EA organize their own event), but there is a certain pleasure in the week of E3, it is like Christmas, although sometimes there are more coals than gifts.
We do not expect anything to change for next year, there will most likely be four days of lectures again, some better than others, but many will be disappointed when they discover that not all studios have such a super game up their sleeve. It happens every year and it seems that it will continue to be that way as long as there is E3 with fans waiting for that “big announcement” that makes them feel worth this hobby.