E3 2019: The Air of Uncertainty

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Let’s face it, each and every time E3 comes up we all get this insatiable feeling of needing to see the newest and “greatest” reveals from the biggest companies in the industry. Now don’t get me wrong, that’s great and all, but for some reason this year that feeling hasn’t quite hit me just yet. In fact, I’m not even sure if that wonderful rush of emotions will ever come back to me in the same manner anymore. Theirs something different about this years offerings that doesn’t give me excitement or a great sense of “want” to know what’s coming out. Perhaps it’s just me getting over the whole E3 hype train, or maybe it’s due to the fact that I grew up a bit and no what the difference between “reveals” and “products” means. But I think it’s something else altogether, and I’ll explain that here and why I call this years E3, The Air of Uncertainty.

Sony isn’t there

Let’s get this over with and talk about the elephant in the room. Sony, the owners of the PlayStation brand, for the first time ever, will not be at the E3 convention. Sony has been an active participant since the very first E3 way back in 1995, so when they announced that they made the decision not to attend this year, it was quite a shock for many gamers in the community. While this might seem arbitrary for some people, Sony’s absence feels like their’s a void left unfulfilled. Sure some of their own first party developers might be their with a booth on the show room floor, but with no press conference to speak of, the E3 Sans-Sony Edition feel like 1/3 of the appeal is just gone.

The Event is One Giant Hype Show

As we all know, E3 is arguably the biggest entertainment exposition in history. So many new games are announced as well as updates to already existing ones. The event shows off all of the upcoming new and exciting things we can expect to get hyped over for the next couple of years, and sometimes even sooner. But that’s just it, E3 is all one giant hype show. Now, I know that this is somewhat known among the community already, in fact their has been numerous accounts where companies tend to go overboard and make their trailers look even better than the final product. However, because of this knowledge beforehand, the event as a whole has waned in recent years. Of course this hasn’t stopped anyone from flocking over to Los Angeles to ogle over the “prototypes” and “maybe’s” of tomorrow. Which leads me to…..

This Years Offerings

The actual presentations of this years E3. We have the same presenters as before, except Sony remember, and we have seen all of the potential leaks and teases up to this point. Some of these IP’s look promising, but other than Cyberpunk 2077, which we won’t even get any gameplay of, and Microsoft’s new system, their really isn’t a whole lot that screams out “hype” and “anticipation” to me. Square Enix could steal the show with their Avengers title, and Bethesada might actually show us some gameplay of that one RPG they showed us last year, Starfield, but the rest just isn’t resonating with the E3 atmosphere. EA has abandoned their plans for a press conference and is now just doing their EA Play event.

The PC Gaming Show is always a cool event made for fans of PC specific titles and Indie Games, but they tend to over saturate the conference with an overabundance of unnecessary games that may or may never come out. Ubisoft is often a wild card, but no matter what, we’ll be seeing a brand new Assassins Creed title because Ubisoft does just that. And Nintendo hasn’t even had a real life press conference in years since they decided to change their formats to pre-recorded video trailers. Ironically, Nintendo is usually what fans look forward to the most each and every E3, even if the games they announce aren’t talked about for years after, looking at you Metroid Prime 4. 

Final Thoughts

I’m not here to dissuade you from watching or attending E3, in fact I highly encourage it as it’s one of the most exciting things a gamer can experience in their lifetime. These are just a few caveats to keep in mind while you look on lock-jawed at the newest trailer or announcement. Don’t expect the game to look or feel as good as what you just watched, the lower the expectations you have for it, the better. Still, it can’t be helped that this year feels like the event will have a little bit less of that luster and spark the previous years have generated for me. I still plan to watch and write on it, I always do, but as a fan, as a gamer, the air feels just a little uncertain for E3 2019.

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Alex Levine
Long time fan of video games and writing. Currently working on a compilation of writings to eventually be published as a full book.