Geoff Keighley: E3 'Killed Itself,' Not Summer Game Fest

Geoff Keighley: E3 ‘Killed Itself,’ Not Summer Game Fest

E3 has fallen just as Summer Game Fest has risen to take its place. But while it may seem to some that the latter killed the former, Summer Game Fest creator and host Geoff Keighley said that E3 fell on its own sword.

Keighley said he “saw the wheels falling off the wagon of E3”

Keighley spoke about this battle of the summer shows at length on the VGC Podcast. He was asked what he felt about being the “E3 killer,” but instead of dancing on event’s grave, he said it was more of a self-inflicted wound.

“I think E3 sort of killed itself in a way,” said Keighley. “I understand why people say [Summer Game Fest killed E3], but I think if anything, we created Summer Game Fest, and I built Summer Game Fest because I saw the wheels falling off the wagon of E3.”

Keighley famously pulled out of the 2020 show (which was said to be full of influencers and celebrities) before it folded that year because he “didn’t feel comfortable.” During the podcast, he recalled going to E3 when he was 15 in 1995 and said it was a great show that “defined his summer” every year. Before stating that its 2023 plans were a bit ambitious and that the market would have decided if both shows stayed, he reiterated that E3 had its own issues.

“It was so exciting to me, and it was heartbreaking to see that start to fall apart,” he continued. “I think they had a relevancy problem, and then they also had a participation problem over the final years.”

Keighley pushed back on the idea that his show accelerated E3’s death, as some assumed that Summer Game Fest was another outlet publishers could go to and that meant E3 would atrophy. He also said that he just didn’t see E3 and Summer Game Fest fighting for exclusives and called out that this year’s lineup didn’t change once E3 officially folded.

“I get the sentiment around it,” said Keighley. “It was sad to me that we had to decide to go off and build something new, but we did that all in partnership with the publishers, and our list of partners for Summer Game Fest did not change at all with the cancelation of E3 this year. Everyone we’ve been working with, we’ve been working with for months around Summer Game Fest. So there was a world where Summer Game Fest and E3 would have coexisted, and we had talked a lot to [E3 organizer] ReedPop about that possibility, because they were focused much more on a big trade event, and consumer event, and that’s not what we were doing with Summer Game Fest.”

In addition to the livestream on June 8 at noon PT, Summer Game Fest is also holding Play Days for the press, something that’s private and a lot smaller than what E3 was aiming to do. He also called out how expensive it was for some publishers to go to E3, something that’s not as much of a problem for Summer Game Fest.