The year 2020 will be known as the year when nothing happened. This is thanks to the worldwide event that has forced people to stay at home and, as much as possible, try to avoid human contact as much as possible. Oh, we call it “social distancing” but, yeah. That’s just a cool way of saying that we should avoid physical contact with other human beings.
The ramifications of the entire “social distancing” gimmick is that most big gatherings, such as Comic-Con have been cancelled. This includes gaming biggest event of the year, E3. While I can’t really say how good E3 was going to be if things were all normal, a lot of gaming companies, both on the development side and the hardware side, have still decided to put out videos showcasing what they have in store in the near future. Microsoft put out their Inside Xbox show featuring their upcoming Xbox Series X system. Sony had their Future of Gaming showcase to give a sneak peek at the PlayStation 5. EA had their EA Play thing. Most recently, Ubisoft had the Ubisoft Forward stream.
Doing these pre-taped pseudo gaming press conference is more of a necessity thanks to the times. However, if these are successful and still manage to get their ideas across to the general gaming public, there are going to be some companies that will eschew the live events of E3 and the like and go all-digital in the future. After all, why spend huge stacks of cash on a large venue, flying in the people to give the presentation, setting up elaborate sets and all that when they can just film the presentation on the cheap?
I wouldn’t be surprised if this does happen in the future. Some companies, such as Nintendo and Sony, have been doing this before. So, this just might be the trend. However, there is definitely something about live press conferences that makes them feel much more special than the pre-taped ones.
One thing, and the biggest thing, the pre-taped press conferences cannot duplicate is the energy level of a live gaming press conference. There’s something about revealing a hot new game in front of a live crowd. Sure, you can get as hyped at home watching the reveals. But when you couple that with the hyped reactions of others who are just as excited seeing the same thing you’re seeing, that makes you even more hyped.
Take the Final Fantasy VII Remake reveal way back in E3 2015.Just seeing the reactions of other gamers to this one quick trailer made you know this is something special. Even if you didn’t know what the heck Final Fantasy VII is, just looking at the immense reaction of the live crowd made you take notice. That’s the type of energy you can’t have with something that’s been pre-recorded and broadcast on the Internet. I mean, you can do it… but you’ll still be missing something important.
Another thing I really like about the live gaming press conferences is that they come off as more confident with what they want to show. After all, why go spend so much time and effort into a live show if you don’t have anything to actually show? Live presentations prove that you have the gumption that what you’re going to show the audience in the auditorium is going to impress and wow them.
The trailers have to be polished and be shown at a moment’s notice. The presenters have to know what to say and when to say it. The demos have to be in working order and playable as you can bet there are going to be some people eager to try out what they just saw on stage. All of this is going on while, in the background, there is a small army of technicians ensuring that your live gaming press conference is being broadcast all over the world on the Internet without any hiccups. If that’s not confidence that you can pull all of that off without a hitch, then I don’t know what is!
Of course, that doesn’t mean that every show goes off without something going wrong. This brings me to my next favorite thing about live gaming press conferences: the memorable moments. We’re not just talking about the big announcements but the non-sequiturs like Sony pwning Microsoft by announcing the PlayStation 4 will play used games and Kevin Butler’s Gamers speech from Sony’s E3 2010 show.
They don’t necessarily have to be truly awesome moments but there are also the weird and awkward ones as well! Who doesn’t remember Reggie Fils-Aime about to step on the Wii Balance Board and exclaim “My body is ready”? Who doesn’t remember the mess that was Konami’s E3 2010 conference? What about those terrible dance sequences that come with every UbiSoft show because they just have to plug the latest Just Dance game? These are the moments that gamers still remember to this day but not for the right reasons. However, we all still remember these cringeworthy moments almost as fondly, if not more than, the awesome ones.
Now, will we have had them stuck in our memories if these segments were taped ahead of time? Of course not! They would’ve been edited out, another take made or just scrapped altogether with another thing replacing them! Something that is great, for all the wrong reasons, to be sure, would’ve never seen the light of day if these events were taped.
Will we ever go back to the live gaming press conferences? This year was the litmus test to see if gamers warm up to the idea. And, to tell you honestly, I think there will be a shift to the pre-taped ones in the future. Companies do like to have full control over how they’re perceived and they do want to release the most polished show they can produce. I would also imagine they’re much cheaper than the live events so you have that going for it as well.
But the thing is, I can’t imagine any of the recorded and professionally edited shows being as exciting as the live events. I would always go into an E3 and anticipating the live shows much more than the recorded shows Nintendo and Sony have put out in recent years. There just something special about seeing someone on stage trying their best to show off something to a live crowd and hope nothing goes wrong. It feels much more special when you can hear the audience cheer or just give police applause when something is presented.
I do have some serious doubts about E3’s future and the live gaming press conferences in general. That’s just the way things go. However, I do hope we’ll still have some live shows here and there as there is still something special about them, even though we don’t appreciate them as much anymore.
Oh, well. We’ll always have Devolver Digital give us a laugh, anyway.
Which do you prefer? The live gaming press conferences or the more polished recorded presentations? Or what is your favorite moment from the live shows? Let me know in the comments section below!