No Gameplay, No Demos, No Trust
We live in a much different time than we did in June of 2019, 2020 saw the first time that gamers did not get an E3 event. Not only did we not get E3 this year, but we also did not get Gamescom, Comic Con or really any gaming event.
Obviously when COVID starts shutting things down, there’s not so much that you can do about it. When local authorities and CEO’s are telling everyone to shut down, all you can do is grit your teeth and bear it.
Not to say that E3 was in a good place this year regardless. Earlier in January as well as October – December of 2019, E3 was under a lot of scrutiny. Fans have been slowly trickling away from E3 for a while due to corporate interference and influencers taking over shows.
These issues only compounded and dogpiled in 2020 after several notable journalists said they would not be attending. News that came shortly after over 3000 journalists had their information leaked prior to attending E3. So the clock was already ticking for E3 when that began.
Then, news broke that even more influencer advertising was going to be present. Basically working like marketing salesmen wandering around the E3 grounds and promoting products. Which, should go without saying, turned a lot of people off from even wanting to go in the first place.
Now, in June of 2020 we’ve seen the first three big attempts at a video game conference replacement. We saw it first with Microsoft’s Series X reveal, then Sony’s Future of Gaming and now with IGN’s Summer of Gaming. What have we learned from these events? Well, that we really need to see gameplay and on the ground reports.
Series X, PS5 and not a Whole Hell of Lot Else
Starting with Microsoft, on one hand it was cool to see what the Series X is truly capable of. Higher resolutions, faster FPS, larger storage capacity etc. Effectively showcasing what the benchmark bar was going to be for next gen gaming. Plus, we got to see a few games that showed off the potential for the hardware.
By that I mean we got to see a bunch of trailers and a few elements of gameplay for some upcoming projects. It just felt like a glorified tech demo, which in a way is what the point was, but it rang hollow. There was no big fanfare, no chance for a content creator to try out the game and give an opinion etc.
Then, we got Sony’s reveal for the PS5 and what they plan to do. Except that it somehow felt even less exciting than Microsoft’s did. Sure we got to see some cool trailer reveals for Resident Evil, Horizon and Bethesda, but that was it. No price reveal, a very divisive console design and a bunch of trailers.
Would it have killed anyone to just dedicate an hour or so to just some gameplay? It all felt a little disingenuous to me.
IGN’s Summer of Gaming is luckily filling that hole for a lot of people. Only downside is that it’s not really much of a space for AAA games. Not to say that there is no benefit to indie games or under the radar games, but we’ve seen next to nothing for big studio games.
All this comes around to the fact that we’re just living in a time without the ability to have people on the ground. We can’t go to mass gatherings and record gameplay content to form an opinion around.
Hopefully, come next year, we’ll see a return for events like Gamescom and E3. Regardless of public and private opinion on how they were implemented, they need them back for the community at large.