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 To E3 or not E3 

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PostSubject: To E3 or not E3   Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:13 am


There’s a rumor doing the rounds, printed in the February issue of Game Informer, that Sony and Microsoft are toying with the idea of breaking with tradition and making their full next-generation reveals away from E3. The two companies would throw their own snazzy press conferences entirely devoted to unveiling their new machines, known variously as PlayStation 4 / Orbis and Xbox 720 / Durango, weeks or even months before gaming's annual jamboree in June.

The story states, “E3 in June may be the industry's biggest event, but both companies want to give their systems their own limelight. That doesn't mean E3 won't be without its surprises. Next-gen games will be announced at the convention in preparation for the systems' release at the end of the year."

It’s true that E3 has some very clear advantages as a venue for new console reveals. The media is already in attendance, so there’s no worries about persuading invitees or arranging for journalists to attend. The world is thinking and talking about games, because that’s what E3 does.

There’s also a certain ‘level playing field’ aspect to E3 hardware press conferences. Hardware rivals have a lot of experience doing these things, the format is well understood, and the danger of being completely blown away by a competitor is minimal. In other words, it’s the safe and convenient option.

But Sony and Microsoft will be aware that, more than ever before, a console reveal is a massive cultural event that may deserve its own specific event, rather than being a part of E3. More people own consoles than ever before and spend more time on them. This is a huge story that does not need to piggyback on another event and, indeed, may be harmed by doing so.

Games consoles, they will also argue, aren’t just about games any more, and their placing in an annual games convention could diminish this aspect of the devices. You may or may not agree with this line of thinking, but it’s certainly shaped console design and marketing in recent years as well as games console use.

Sony and Microsoft see themselves as playing a much bigger game than merely competing with one another for the gaming market. Their biggest rival is Apple, which does host its own events to make big announcements. Apple has made a strong case for standalone product launches — not sharing the spotlight, launching on their own schedule, not being beholden to convention timing, and the general suggestion that their products are so transcendent that they are without rival. Do the games hardware companies feel diminished by hosting their big hurrahs as part of something else, and likely within a few hours and a few miles of one another? It seems likely.

There's another argument, that a decision to hold the announcement away from E3 could damage the show itself, which is central to the health of the gaming business. But gaming, especially these days, is about more than console games and it’s about more than console launches. E3 will go on, it'll be just fine.

Whatever the console companies decide, it’s clear that some time in the next few months we will all be watching new consoles being unveiled for the first time, hopefully without the spoilers of leaks. Wherever and whenever the announcements are held, it’s all going to be freakin’ amazing.
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PostSubject: Re: To E3 or not E3   Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:40 am

Either way we get the news, so I don't really care.
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