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‘End of E3 feels like huge kick in a very sensitive spot’

The bullet is in the church: E3, the world’s biggest gaming event, has been cancelled. Even though last year’s new edition was proudly announced for June this year, the plug has been pulled. WANT editor and big fan Dennis Mons saw the storm coming and is pretty sad about it.

It is perhaps the most painful news of the week. The organization behind E3, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), has indicated that the most prestigious gaming event ever will not be happening. And I don’t think it will ever happen again, either. It makes perfect sense, but it saddens me.

Game event E3 made me who I am

First and foremost, let me express my love for E3. The gaming event has shaped me as a gaming and tech journalist in all previous years. With great pleasure, I spent long nights writing news or doing livestreams. Extremely exhausting, but such a great pleasure.

I also think back fondly on my visit to the gaming event in Los Angeles. Even the endlessly long flight (agonizing when you’re almost two feet tall) had its charm. Or the constant standing still in the tangled traffic of the big city in California was also such a treat. But! The whole build-up to the event was a special moment, however agonizing.

Apart from the gaming event an sich, it was the “little things” that did it during E3. Like being among the first in the world to play a game. Or hanging out with developers and publishers. Chatting a little with a snack and a drink at a party, with screaming, burning feet as you could barely catch a moment of rest. Even that had its charm.

A personal highlight though was the booth of indie publisher Revolver. After all, they were never at the gaming event itself, but in the parking lot opposite the main halls. Free food, drinks and comfortable couches with very relaxed people: an oasis in the enormously busy chaos of the exhibition floor itself.

e3, gaming eventMons (left) and good friend Lucas get tough in LA on their way to the trade show. (Image: Dennis Mons)

(Oh, and they actually had the most luxurious portable toilets in the US, complete with one of those posh gentleman who came to give you a towel and possibly a scent. Very striking).

This had been coming for years before E3

Is the demise of E3 really a big surprise? No. The ESA also indicates that there just isn’t enough enthusiasm from both exhibitors and consumers to travel all that way to Los Angeles. It’s a prohibitively expensive undertaking with booths, flights, hotels and refreshments.

Of course, it was 2020 (corona, ey) that made this painfully visible: a gaming event like E3 just wasn’t necessary anymore. Major publishers held their own events online, with all the bells and whistles. A lot cheaper and with a similar large reach. So why send thousands of people to one place? Apart from the charm of the event itself (which nobody can take away from me anymore), I didn’t really understand the logic of it.

Besides large parties, the “small ones” also dropped out of the E3 gaming event. After all, why would you want to drown in the enormous media frenzy of the big publishers like Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Tencent, EA and Activision? That’s a waste of money and you just have to hope your title will get some traction with the press.

Game event E3 goes head-to-head and WANT criesThis is it? (Image: Frederic J. Brown/AFP)

Time to say goodbye

But this moment does feel like a huge kick in a sensitive spot. E3 was a gaming event that we all lived towards. It was magical to participate in it, both in Los Angeles and at home.

So I’m going to miss you E3… And although I think the chances are slim, I still want to say hopefully see you one day.

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