Ever since 2005, I’ve been watching E3 press conferences. E3 was an event for me. Every year, I would be waiting for the conference schedule to be uploaded to IGN so I could make my yearly running Word or Excel file to predict what would be revealed based on that schedule and who was on the show floor. More recently, I would purposely save enough paid time off hours to be able to watch the conferences from home or go to the movies just to watch PlayStation’s conference. So, when it was announced that the ESA canceled E3, suffice to say I was disappointed.
Then, Geoff Keighley came in with Summer Game Fest. Instead of 3 days of announcements, there would be announcements for four months. Initially, that sounded exciting as it would give developers the time to properly showcase their games to an audience that would have no reason not to check it out. This seemed like the perfect way to replace E3. You just had to tune into Geoff’s stream, and you could mostly see what journalists would see at E3.
However, this is not what happened. Out of the 11 live streams that occurred over the last month, only 6 of those (according to Geoff’s own Summer Game Fest website) are on Geoff’s YouTube channel (as of this publish). Now, I want to make clear that I am in no way blaming or attacking Geoff, as it could also be something on the developer’s side rather than Geoff’s. What I am doing is pointing out that if this “season of gaming”, as Geoff refers to Summer Game Fest, is supposed to be a new all-digital style celebration of gaming, it isn’t clear where to access some of these live streams or if they’re even part of Keighley’s show. And even when they are, some of the live streams could (and probably should) be YouTube uploads to Keighley’s YouTube channel, as most of the live streams don’t really reveal anything of consequence other than maybe a new trailer or new game mechanic.
The other part of the organization of Keighley’s Summer Game Fest that confuses me is the spacing between events. For most of the show’s calendar, there are days (even weeks, at points) where nothing is being revealed, days when there’s one announcement, and then just a random day where all the announcements are happening. If Keighley honestly wants a season of gaming, I propose that if this show returns in 2021, he should adapt what he does with The Game Awards’ announcements by doing a solid month of developer interviews, gameplay, game demos, exclusive game reveals and essentially bring E3 to everyone by hosting it all on your website, YouTube, Twitch and anywhere else that will host it because I’m honestly getting exhausted of all the live streams I have to keep track of.
If E3 comes back, I think as exhausting as Summer Game Fest is and will likely continue to be, the ESA should copy a lot of what Keighley has done here. He put together an E3-level amount of presenters and announced it all in less than a month after E3 2020 was canceled. That deserves a lot of credit.
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