E3 2013 has come and gone, and I still don’t know who it’s for

This site, like the site for the game I am working on Beatdowncity.com hasn’t been updated in a while, perhaps for good reason, perhaps because of poor planning, whatever.

I just posted about the stressful lead up to us showing at E3, here.

Having attended 4 E3s prior, in 2003, then in 2010,2011 and 2012, I was asking myself, who is E3 for?

It was a question I asked friends from my old work parent company Take Two as we got ready to take an early flight to LA for a crazy week that would probably end up a blur.

I had seen that there were going to be signings at the Atlus booth, one of the most niche companies around, and I knew who it was trying to attract, but I didn’t know why that niche would be at E3.

E3 is supposedly a trade show. One that is stacked with signings, gifts of varying quality and expensive booths dedicated to allowing people to play your games. But who would be playing these games?
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Bittersweet E3 2012

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.

Gaming Blurbs: E3 2011 has come & gone

This years E3 left an interesting impression on me. Last year it was my 2nd time to E3, but my 1st as an employee of a company that many hold in high regard, something that makes it a little easier to talk to people. There’s something about being an EB games employee (my 1st time out to E3) that doesn’t exactly make people want to get to know you further than your first name. Last year I went scrambling to see as many games as possible and ran into a bunch of folks I hadn’t seen in some time. This year I went looking for all of the people I already knew and to meet new ones and saw some cool games in the process.

Over the past 11 or so years I’ve met a lot of great people in the industry, either on forums, at various conventions or massive game midnight releases. It’s amazing to me how long people can stay in the industry and how some can just bounce around from company to company & then eventually find themselves in a new start up or just found their own company altogether. I really respect that aspect of the industry and the people who keep it going.

There are a lot of undesirable things about the industry that can be seen by anyone hanging out in any of the booths for long enough, the suits, aka the business behind the business. Continue reading