The Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly known as E3, is one of the biggest events of the year in the gaming world. Many game publishers and hardware manufacturers save some of their biggest announcements for E3 to take advantage of the amount of coverage that the event gets.
Electronic Arts recently announced it won't be a big part of that coverage this year. The publishing giant will maintain a small presence at E3, but it is largely skipping the expo in favor of hosting its own events. And that presence could be very small, since the company has already released its traditional booth space that always put it front and center when attendees walked in the door.
Instead of focusing on E3 (which runs from June 14-16), Electronic Arts is hosting its own EA Play events at Club Nokia in Los Angeles and The Mermaid in London. The Los Angeles event will run from June 12-14, while the London event will be on June 12 only; fans who can't make it to either event will be able to view EA Play content online that includes trailers and announcement footage, livestreams, and behind-the-scenes content. A press conference will be held on June 12 at 1 p.m. PT/9 p.m. BST that will simultaneously be streamed online, likely featuring announcements of both new games and new DLC for its current slate.
According to EA, the reason for this shift is to make the event more about the players who enjoy the company's games than the surrounding industry. From the EA Play website:
"Our players are the driving force behind everything we do. So this summer, we’re opening up our world to you with unique new live events in Los Angeles and London. We’ll bring the new games, we’ll bring the demos, we’ll bring the competition…and you get to go hands-on. Or join us online and immerse yourself to experience some of our biggest games of the year. Let’s live to play together. "
Electronic Arts isn't the first company to start pulling away from E3, either; for the past few years, Nintendo has had a minimal presence on-site at the event and has made most of its major announcements via streaming video. For its part, EA will get everything out in the open before the expo even starts and has only stated that it will be taking private meetings at E3.
This may be the start of a cooling trend for E3, with major players in the industry focusing more on their own ways of connecting with gamers instead of competing for the biggest moments amid the hustle and bustle of the expo. If Electronic Arts has any major surprises in store for its event, it could kill a bit of the hype for E3 by getting gamers excited about EA's upcoming slate before anyone else even gets to show off their new products. If EA Play is a success, competitors may follow just to keep from losing an advantage to EA next year.
The big question is whether EA Play will have enough of a "wow" factor to steal steam away from E3. Electronic Arts could be shooting itself in the foot, getting its new games hyped up just in time for major E3 announcements to make everyone forget what they saw at EA Play. There's definitely a risk involved, and only time will tell whether EA will come out on top or not.
The EA Play events are scheduled for June 12-14. The Electronic Entertainment Expo is scheduled for June 14-16.