Will E3 2009 be a return to form? According to everyone you talk to at publisher and format-holder offices across the US, the event will definitely be the key event for the games industry this year.
Oh… of course they’d say that, they’re the stakeholders.
But perhaps for a change this optimism isn’t just a sign of blind faith or wild hope.
Maybe, just maybe, after two years of uncertainty – ‘We want to cancel the event for good’, ‘No we just want to do it small scale’, ‘No we want something bigger than that’ – the people running the show will stop quibbling and just get on with it.
The E3s of years past gave us numerous memorable moments – a large handful of them based on sheer outlandishness. Everyone has their own personal stories of what they got up to at parties or after-show events, but for the industry as a whole there are collective memories that prove what a great (if, yes, ridiculous) circus it can be.
Think Peter Moore’s Halo 2 tattoo; N-Gage go-go-girls detailing the price of the Nokia - with £199.99 crudely written across their tummies; Sega’s brave/idiotic announcement of a looming Saturn release; Sony warning the rest of the industry to ‘Go big or go home’.
Yet at the E3 of the last two years, announcements like this were non-existent.
So, sure, senior industry types might have already talked themselves into believing E3 ‘09 is the greatest show on Earth before it has even begun. But at least with format holders and ESA members wised up to the perils of meddling with a winning formula, we have the chance to enjoy an event with some actual substance (and, yes, some excesses), instead of the messes of ‘07 and ‘08.