I feel strangely about E3 this year. I think it’s hard not to with the state of everything in the game industry as we know it. There is certainly not a lack of things to worry about.
The industry is in a massive state of flux. A lot of the old guard is being usurped by a large amount of new trends. Big boxed retail is hurting, bad. We’ve got two new handhelds on the market, and neither is really lighting the world on fire, not as much as the other mobile devices that seem like blood diamond mines. It’s all so unsettling to me and many others, all stalwart supporters of the status quo. The only things saving my sanity are that my tastes have been gearing closer to that of the downloadable indie craze of late and finding at least one facebook game of note (damn you Marvel Avenger’s Alliance!). Both of those factors tell me that things can’t be all bad.
But then there are the less nebulous and more specific things going on, like the recent closure of 38 Studios because of terrible management (and supposedly the fact that over a million units is not good enough for a mid tier game). Or how about the facts and rumors surround Sega’s misfortunes, a company that has been working to bounce back for over a decade with a focus on western games and fostering Platinum games’ creativity? And then there’s THQ, which last year stood strong on a throne made of a thinly cobbled together array of tablets, fake breasts and games, now finding itself teetering on a cliff with a lance to its throat, and will be backed up off that cliff unless its next games are all successes.
I have hope though, along with a mixture of excitement and nervousness for this show. I hope this show feels more like the mob working on legitimizing its business within the growing constraints of society instead of sounding like a bunch of old men still clinging to knocking over cigarette trucks for their income while cops have their room bugged. In two days, we’ll all find out together.