This week has highlighted something we’ve started to see more and more of other the last few years, the pre-E3 announcement extravaganza. This may well be my memory playing tricks on me, but it seems like everyone used to save up their announcements, to hoard them for E3 and a few of the other big shows. Oh, certainly there were the odd announcements here and there, but I’m almost certain it wasn’t like it is now.
Looking over the past few days using TSA’s handy feature we’ve had the least surpsing announcement ever in the form of Black Ops II, The Elder Scrolls Online, Company of Heroes 2 (although that was just a pre-announcement) and even a bit of a tease from thatgamecompany about their next project. Now some of these are just a normal part of the news and PR cycle that seems to continue relentlessly, but you do have to wonder if saving them for E3 could have had more impact.[drop]That’s not to say we won’t see some, or all, of these games at E3, in fact it would seem bizarre if they didn’t at least appear in some form or another at the show. The real question is do these titles make as much of an impact if they’re announced before we go to those exciting few days in June, or does it serve the games better to have those games make a splash before dozens of other games are being announced at the same time?
That’s a tricky one to answer, and I’m sure it’s one that is debated for hours on end in PR and marketing departments across the planet. Even with all of the metrics in the world for measuring the impact of any announcement, it’s still tricky to predict just how your announcement will be received at any time of the year, let alone in the increasingly crowded E3 and pre-E3 window.
Putting aside the PR thought behind the time, I kind of like everything being condensed into those few days at E3; it’s great to watch a press conference and have almost no idea what we’re going to see.
That was something I felt with Ubisoft’s conference last year; it might have been so weird I was convinced I was dreaming at times (2010’s conference had the same effect strangely) but it was always turning to something that surprised me at least a little. None of the other press conferences really threw any shocks at me, even Nintendo’s deeply confusing WiiU announcement didn’t seem like much of a surprise.
Of course, the problem with E3 is the ease with which you can miss an amazing announcement. Even if you watch every second of the big press conference you can still miss something that was only shown off on the show floor, or have some extended coverage of a game pass you by.
Setting the announcement of games like The Elder Scrolls Online or God of War: Ascension before E3 means they get a clear run at things and have the possibility to make a bigger splash, although possibly make it in a smaller pond.
I’d be interested to hear your opinions on this, as it does feel like a personal preference. For me confining everything to the big shows really gives them a bit of added excitement, but I can see why some would prefer a bit of a build to the show as well.