We’re witnessing an interesting shift in the dynamic of video game conventions. Nintendo hasn’t had an official press conference at E3 in a number of years. At this year’s E3, EA had their EA Live event, which was half press conference and half watching celebrities experience Battlefield 1 for the first time. Instead of booking their usual monstrously large space in South Hall, they hosted an EA Play event for the public, allowing anyone in the LA area to reserve tickets and try out their games instead of just E3 attendees. Neither Nintendo nor Sony are at gamescom, Nintendo hasn’t even released a new Direct presentation for the event, and third-party publishers haven’t announced anything new either. EA’s own press conference baffled press attendees as to what they were witnessing, because the event wasn’t a press conference at all but a live stream of their games. They had 400 systems set up to let attendees experience Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1 for themselves instead of making a presentation over the games.
Eurogamer met with the chief operating officer of EA, Peter Moore, at gamescom to discuss the event and perhaps why there wasn’t an official press conference. Moore bluntly answered that he doesn’t think video game press conferences will be around much longer.
I’m not too sure that press conferences have a future. Let me make a radical statement – what you see here [gestures to EA booth around], which is full, is a combination of our key customers, digital, retail, probably 40 percent influencers. It [EA Lounge] used to look like an IKEA showroom but, like EA Play, it’s indicative of how we see the future. The medium is changing. Influencers, celebrities who aren’t the classic journalists are finding their own way. Our job is to put the games in their hands like we did last night.
In this day and age where it’s easy to get an announcement out to the public and press, I can see Moore’s prediction coming to fruition, where publishers create their own presentations/videos/hype and get the message out more quickly than the press can.