Up For Debate – Are physical announcements still relevant?

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It’s the year 2020 and we have been struck by a worldwide pandemic, many of the public events have been cancelled and many more people have been sent home from work. It is quite clearly one of the largest events to occur in our recent history, and has had a huge impact on how our society has been handling the situation. As I mentioned just now, many public events have been cancelled, and for gaming this has made a huge impact…

It is by no secret to anyone now that E3 2020 has been cancelled. Prior to that announcement we discussed what certain companies might do in the wake of a cancellation, and how it would affect their game announcements.

In the age of the digital world, and the ever-rising popularity of streaming, physically attending certain events are becoming less and less common. Of course there is a certain thrill to attending a certain event live like a concert, or a gaming convention, but there are also some downsides. In that article I just mentioned, there was a quote from Jason Schreier, News Editor and writer: “if E3 doesn’t happen, there’s not much of a reason for every single company to hold their press conference on the same week. (Why force devs to crunch for a June demo if there’s nowhere to show that demo to press and retailers?) It’s very possible that publishers decide to plan their own events on their own schedules instead.

This all sparks the conversation of whether or not physical announcements are relevant anymore in this digital streaming age. Whilst E3 is a particularly well-known and highly regarded event where we would see some of the biggest announcements in gaming for that year revealed, it also meant that companies would be fighting for the biggest reveal, as it would then trump any announcement from anyone else at the convention.

Say for instance, hypothetically, that Grand Theft Auto 6 is announced at E3 2020; suddenly it will become the most talked about news and anything regarding any other new games, like Assassin’s Creed: Ragnarok or a new Batman game for instance, would be washed away in the flurry of news and articles that would be released about GTA 6.

In addition, just like Schreier mentioned, companies would be time crunching in order to get a playable demo out for the public, or even just a short gameplay teaser, which might negatively impact the audience’s perception of the game well ahead of its release.

But even with that said, there’s a certain joy that comes when E3 is round the corner; speculations and theories, staying up late to watch the livestreams of each conference, the buzz of excitement that’s in the air when you’re actually there. 

There are many cases you can put forward in defence of physical announcements, but then there are also many negatives. 2020 will mark the first time that E3 has not happened in a year since it began and has had major ripple effects on the companies that were supposed to attend. How will this affect the future? I’m not sure and we can only wait to see how this all plays out, but I for one find it highly interesting to think about. But what about you? What do you think of this situation? Are you for or against physical announcements? Make your case in the discussion below!