The Pre-E3 Problem


The most common analogy made about E3 is that it is Christmas for gamers. Despite the increase in press conferences for major announcements taking place outside of the traditional gaming convention calendar, E3 continues to be considered the biggest gaming conference of the year. However, continuing the Christmas analogy, it has become a trend for some individuals to take an early peek at this year’s ‘presents’ and share them with the rest of the world. Others, now worried about getting their thunder stolen will preemptively make their announcements early to ensure it was on their terms. As a result, a week that should be starved of news with E3 just around the corner is now filled with leaks, announcements, and trailers. Some now worry that all the surprises have happened and that just accidentally killed Santa E3.

But part of me is torn on the matter. As a gamer, announcements of new titles or HD remakes of beloved favourites (FFXII The Zodiac Age is going to be awesome) is always exciting to hear no matter when. But as someone who takes the time to watch the press conferences, write posts about all the announcements, and explode with glee along with all of the other fans over a new trailer, E3 is a very special time of year for me. All this Pre-E3 stuff can unintentionally derail any excitement for the event. As I see it in our internet era, this Pre-E3 problem is only going to get more prevalent in the years to come.

Now, I’m not here to tell off anyone for leaking new games or information early. That would be very hypocritical of me as I enjoy reading about this stuff. Some of these leaks are accidental rather than intentional, although you can’t help but wonder how “accidental” it was. If an announcement is meant to be colossal, publishers and developers will take extraordinary lengths to keep those things secret. Prime example is Sony’s E3 2015 presser. Last Guardian (thought to be cancelled), Final Fantasy VII Remake (a pipe dream), and Shenmue III (???) were all crazy reveals that were somehow kept mostly under wraps until the show. In any case, leaks happen and will continue to happen. But for me, they’re not the only issue. My other concern is of all the intentional reveals and announcements made before E3.

With that said, I can see why it happens. Good or bad, there’s going to be a lot of news at E3, and there’s always the risk that a trailer or announcement gets lost in the tidal wave of news that comes out of the expo. The week before E3 does allow a certain amount of excitement to revolve around new games or information, so you can understand why developers want to take advantage of that coverage. In the same vein, there’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to break the news about something you’re working on yourself. People are going to be clamouring for any information they can get their hands on leading up to the show, and sometimes secrets aren’t as well-kept as they should be. Getting the news out there before anyone else can is a strategy to avoid getting any details leaked, but one could argue you should be doing a better job of keeping secrets in the first place.

Leaks happen every year, but it seems that this year they’ve been particularly bad. If you were excited for Dead Rising 4 and Watchdogs 2, then this week’s leaks of a poster and ads are sure to get you excited. Bethesda was able to keep several big things secret or at least under their control last year. This time, it seems their entire press conference line-up is widely known. Exclusive merchandise is getting sent to the wrong people at the wrong times, ads for new games are going up way earlier than they’re supposed to. An odd mixture of intentional and unintentional blabbing has resulted in a lot of news this week, and we’re only half way through. In fact, it’s apparent that Destiny’s next big DLC (which we did know about sort of) has had more details leaked as of writing this post.

I’m not exactly sure what the solution to the pre-E3 problem is. You can’t tell people to stop being curious or prevent them from sharing poorly-kept secrets. Perhaps it is up to the developers to get their acts together when it comes to this stuff. I just don’t want all these leaks and early announcements to ruin E3. I don’t think we’re there yet, but we might be getting close to that.

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