Last year people were wondering what a year of no E3 would be if companies had their own direct-feeds instead of press conferences. The mass public doesn’t quite realize that E3 is more than a few press briefings but a massive show-floor of demos for the public. This year it happened, the ESA couldn’t hold E3 because of COVID-19.
Geoff Keighley organized the Summer Game Fest summer long event from May – August with a schedule of direct video of showcases from video game companies and demos for consumers. It was a great idea however it wasn’t what people expected. Even though, a lot of streams have seen a larger audience than their E3 videos.
Aside from companies handling their own showcases the drip feed of information was hard for people to follow. Every company was working off their own schedule and some events would damper future presentations with something lackluster. Announcements were too far apart and a lot of people just failed to find anything.
What really hurt the Summer Game show was the lack of hands-on previews. Consumers weren’t adjusted to only viewing information from from trailers and announcements but were still stuck on the concept of hands-on demos people played which goes all the way back to E3 being report in video game magazines as an industry-only event. CDPR released a preview embargo after their first showcase, Night City Wire, YouTube was flooded with influencers and journalists describing hours of gameplay.
With everyone working from home and work management changing this was a good attempt for a last minute block of showcases. Hopefully this event is a learning curve for future online showcases. Simply condensing information for a month long event instead of three would be ideal and if companies could signed up under an umbrella presentation to block times for each other would be helpful as well. But time will only tell.