Michael Blaker’s Video Game Tuesday: Why E3 Probably Doesn’t Need Replacing

Michael Blaker
Game Industry News is running the best blog posts from people writing about the game industry. Articles here may originally appear on Michael's blog, Windborne's Story Eatery.

Hey all, I’m back with the answer to a question I was asked by someone for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. It’s all about why E3 doesn’t need replacing.

Replacing E3?: In case you are unaware, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, commonly called E3, was shut down for good at the end of last year. The show was a major event for the game industry since 1995 and continued to be for over 20 years. Back in the early days of GiN, the staff would head down to Atalanta every year for the event and continued to follow the show and offer more coverage when it moved to Los Angeles. The final year that GiN sent reporters to fully cover the show was in 2019.

In 2020, COVID-19 really hurt things for the show. However, E3 was in decline before that, especially once Nintendo stopped doing major keynotes back in 2013. But until then it was a major event that got coverage all across the gaming universe.

That sounds great, we should replace it.: Well, E3 wasn’t always good, and some outlets were critical of it for multiple reasons. An example of this was the fact that the trailers and such that were shown at E3 weren’t always indicative of the final product. That lead to a lot of criticism towards developers that was not always justified looking back.

The Controversy GiN Uncovered: Founding GiN publisher, the amazing Nate Wooley, got to know some of the women who worked at the show in 2001, the so-called booth babes, and found out that they were being exploited in a lot of really bad ways. The article he wrote uncovering that corruption made national news, and GiN was at first threatened with a total lifetime ban on ever returning to E3 in the future.

However, the story grew, and our coverage resulted in positive changes for the show, with officials from E3 eventually thanking GiN for uncovering what was happening. The following year, the women of the show reported much better working conditions, new guidelines for how they should be treated, and more respect from their employers. Many of them thanked Wooley personally for his efforts as he visited the 2002 show.

E3’s Impact on the Video Game Industry: So, the E3 Expo show was always a pretty crazy place, and it wasn’t always smooth sailing. But it unquestionably made its impact on the video game industry. You have to remember that E3 was for publishers, hardware manufacturers, developers, and gaming journalists wanting a look at the latest and greatest the industry had to offer. It was not really a show for the average consumer, although it started to drift more that way in later years.

Nowadays, I don’t think we really need E3 anymore. Journalists and the general public alike can simply head to YouTube or Twitch to get a look at almost any publisher’s channel to see the latest and greatest trailers for their upcoming games. So, as sad as it is to see such a crazy and big show go away, its time has really come and gone at this point.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

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