The world’s video games press are now back from E3 with jet lag, hangoversand sore fingers.
But what did they think of this year’s show? And with so many publishers and platform holders using Twitch and the like to go direct to the consumers, what role did the media really play this year? Did they have to do anything differently? And what pieces of content really set the world on fire?
So we reached out to the editors of some of the UK’s top gaming websites to get their thoughts and feelings about this year’s LA expo.
Keza MacDonald, editor
How did you find this year’s show?
It was a good one – last year the new consoles were exciting by virtue of just being there, this year everyone had to work a bit harder to impress.
Was it a big week for Kotaku UK in terms of traffic?
Unsurprisingly, yes. We had a 153 per cent increase in traffic on the Tuesday, and about a 100 per cent increase for the rest of ?the week.
How did you go about covering the show?
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the best way to cover E3 is not to go – so Kotaku had a huge team at home across the time zones, and a small contingent actually at the show. It worked well.
What was popular for you?
Two things blew up big: the new Zelda, and the controversy around Assassin’s Creed Unity and its lack of female characters.
For the second year running, Nintendo streamed a video directly to its audience. What are your thoughts on publishers doing this?
If it’s done as well as Nintendo does it, there’s not much to criticise – but I’m wary of publishers deciding that they don’t need the pesky press getting between the ‘message’ and the ‘consumer’ – and gamers will be, too.
It’s no secret that Twitch are company on the rise. 12 months ago few of us had heard of the live streaming firm, and now it is broadcasting the world’s biggest video games show – and the firm’s COO Kevin Lin said the firm had a great time.
E3 is an opportunity for the gaming industry to express how it is thinking about current and future game development,” he explains. Our biggest traffic spike was on the first day because of the press conferences, so those events were at the top of charts.
However, we view successin terms of consistently engaging our community, so in that regard we were happy since our E3 channel attracted solid numbers throughout the entire conference, more than quadrupling 2013’s audience.”
This year Nintendo went directly to their fans with content, circumventing the regular system of press conferences. As a streaming platform, Lin is happy that companies are doing this.
We encourage developers, publishers, media outlets, gamers, to use our platform in the manner they feel they can best connect with their audiences,” he says.
Since we are entering the age of social video it makes sense that publishers and developers are using us as a direct conduit to gamers.”
OFFICIAL PLAYSTATION MAGAZINE
Matt Pellett, editor
What were your thoughts on the show?
This was my fourth E3 and I can honestly say I enjoyed this year’s show more than any other. I found it a lot calmer than usual on the show floor, which helped keep stress levels low as I dashed between appointments. Sony had another great year and there were some cracking games unveiled and there to be played. Fewer than usual, it’s true, but the quality bar was high.
Did you try anything new to cover the show?
The team took turns to live-Tweet the conferences from the show and back home, and we kept readers up-to-date announcements on our social media feeds throughout the week. E3 is a place where we can gather up content for a number of issues, so we’ve got plenty more coverage based on behind-closed-doors demos and interviews that we’ll be rolling out in coming mags.
OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE
Jon Hicks, editor
According to the editor of Official Xbox Magazine Jon Hicks, it was a much improved year for Microsoft.
It was good. Microsoft had a very strong conference – Call of Duty is always the perfect E3 blockbuster and Sunset Overdrive was a lovely antidote to Gritty Military Man Shooting.
It’s also good to see some new exclusive IP like Scalebound and Crackdown, rather than just relying on timed deals.
The show itself felt a bit quiet, though. The biggest announcements are still a way off and the show floor was mostly 2014 releases, which we’re already quite familiar with.
This year the team at OXM covered the show with a variety of content – including working the publication’s foreign branches to get the maximum amount of coverage.
We had our usual news and live blogs running on totalxbox.com, handled by the UK team, with contributions from the three people we had out at the show.
We’re very nearly the biggest games media brand on Facebook now, on the verge of overtaking IGN.
We had a more international approach this year, with OXM Australia’s editor Paul Taylor working as part of the team. It’s very easy for more elaborate coverage to be eclipsed by the rush of news during the show itself – we’ve always been able to hang back and take our time with the print magazine coverage, and it’s useful to do the same for online, too.
”I think the industry benefits from having a big event to make a lot of noise about, and the abundance of livestreams means that the players – the ones who really care about what’s being shown – can see in the same detail as those attending. That frees up the media to focus on interviews and other coverage that isn’t based just around the presentations.”
Andy Robinson, editor
There were fewer, higher quality games this year – but we saw that coming.
There was a sense that perhaps the positive uptake of the new-gen consoles took the industry by surprise, with many companies struggling to get their biggest PS4 and Xbox One games out this side of Christmas.
E3 is also really good at highlighting where, as an industry, games need to improve, and this year it was character diversity. It was pointed out to me by another journalist that nearly every triple-A game at the show featured the same ‘angry white dude’. Speaking to various publisher executives, I got the impression that the big companies do understand that, creatively, the big franchises need to be more inclusive.
The CVG team is a well oiled E3 machine, and each year we become more efficient and drive taller graphs. One thing I’ve learned is that we have to become increasingly more selective with our appointments each year, especially as the show reaches out directly to consumers. Video is key too; it’s efficient and what