Looking back at an E3-less 'E3'

 Sometimes you only know what you had when it’s gone.

Had a fun June gamers? For the last 20 years or so June has been THE big gaming month. With E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), we always had big announcements this month as the big three and plenty of 3rd party developers tried to outdo one another. This year though, for the 2nd time since its start in 1995, there was no E3. 

Instead, Geoff Keighley had its Summer Game Fest while the big three and others held their own gaming presentations. It created an interesting situation. One in which we could finally experience what a proper E3-less year would be like after the general sentiment has become ‘we don’t need E3’. Well, be careful of what you wish for! 

Let’s take a lot at the E3-less month was June 2022. 

Why was E3 cancelled?

Why was E3 cancelled this year? Hard to say what exactly made the axe drop but we don’t have to grasp at straws for potential reasons. E3 has had it rough for a while now. The convention is a trade show first, a public event second. That was part of the appeal. Not only could game developers mingle with each other and journalist, but the public could rub shoulders with game developers while they are playing the newest demos and attend those presentations with those big reveals. 

With the advancement of technology and the internet though, E3 has lost a lot of relevance in the latter category. Nintendo put the first nail into the coffin so to speak with its Directs. An online presentation that allows Nintendo to make announcements and reveal new games whenever it wants. Nintendo Directs have grown to be something fans rally around and the format has been adopted by Sony and others. 

And why wouldn’t they? It’s much more cost-effective and convenient for them. This leaves E3 in the dust. Nintendo does still have its hands-on Treehouse Event at E3 each year and Microsoft and other 3rd parties still attend but both Sony and EA have left the convention behind. Because of these developments, the convention has less ‘ammo’. Less big, mind-blowing reveal for people to want to attend the con.

Add in that, as far as I can tell, the experience of attending E3 hasn’t been that great these last few years. Long waiting lines, poor treatment by the staff etc. That data leak didn’t do them any favours either in winning (back) public trust. I think you can see why E3 has been going downwards for a while now. 

Enter: Summer Game Fest

That’s enough about that. Now, what did we get this year? Summer Game Fest (SGF) is the big one. Starting in 2020 as a response to E3’s cancellation, this month-long series of online game presentations and interviews. As a digital-only event, it was much easier for organizer Geoff Keighley, gaming journalist and E3 anchor-man for many years, to use his connections to convince developers and publishers to sign on. 

It was nice that there was still a gaming even in June, even if it’s an event that’s still having growing pains. I didn’t watch it myself and the reason for that is one of the problems I have with the event: it’s too long and unclear what is what. With E3 you have 3 to 4 consecutive days with a set schedule known weeks in advance. With SGF this year I found it difficult to get a grasp on the schedule and found its length, its approach of events sprinkled throughout the months, exhausting. 

It isn’t even clear what is and what isn’t a part of SGF! It was a running joke that every game-related thing that would happen in June would be christened as a part of SGF by Geoff. Take Sony’s State of Play for instance. Not only is it odd that it remained unclear until the very last minute that it was a part of SGF, but it also aired a full week before the official kick-off event. Weird and confusing, no?

So yeah SGF needs to work on making the even more concise in several ways. 

The advantages of E3

Let’s circle back to that tagline: ‘sometimes you only know what you had when it’s gone. That refers to the sentiment I’ve seen online of people missing E3. Now that we didn’t have one in a ‘proper’ year we got to see some of the positive aspects of E3 people didn’t really think about until now. 

One point I touched on here above: with E3 you knew what you got weeks in advance. You could plan around it, it all happened only across a few days and they always at least attempted to have a nice flow to it all. The personal aspect is also one people seem to miss. The aforementioned rubbing shoulders aspect of the public with the industry, people coming together from different walks of life celebrating this one thing. Developers even interact with each other in impromptu meetings, meeting each other and getting a chance for sparks to fly. For this idea to be formed that leads to new projects you never expected. 

The announcements. 

Lastly: what did I think of all the announcements this month? In short: this June wasn’t for me. The things I was looking forward to were 1st party-related. God of War: Ragnarök release date (don’t mind when and stop harassing Santa Monica!) new if Horizon Forbidden West will get extra content or not if we’ll get a Zelda game this year or not, Pokémon Scarlet & Violet and so forth. To my disappointment, both Sony and Nintendo’s presentations focused on 3rd party outings and what was shown just didn’t interest me or at least not that much. I could dive deeper but honestly, it’s just that simple and I don’t see any point in 

That said: there is one game that’s now on my radar. The debut title of All Possible Futures, with former Pokémon designer James Turner as one of its founders, The Plucky Squire. It looks like a creative and good-looking title that combines a 2D Zelda-like flair with a Toy Story-like world. 

I tried to imbed the trailer here but I didn't like how it turned out so you just have to click the link right here to see the trailer. 


June 2022 wasn’t a bad month for gaming, we got over 120 bits of gaming news courtesy of Summer Game Fest and others but I wouldn’t call it a rousing success either. SGF was fun but still has its growing pains in its third year. It’s spread over too many days and it’s not clear what is and what isn’t a part of it. 

The absence of E3 didn’t break the month, but its absence was still felt. An in-person event has its allures and the concise nature of the event compared to SGF and the randomness of independent presentations that is. 

The ESA has already stated that E3 will return in 2023 but in what form? They need to reinvent, and evolve, themselves if they want to stay relevant. How? That I can’t tell. Doubling down on the public aspects maybe? They would need to up their game then especially since SGF is planning on having an in-person event next year as well. 

But that’s enough for now. What did you think of June? Did you miss E3? By all means, let me know in the comments below!