Ah, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, colloquially known as E3. This is the event of the year for almost all stripes of gaming. Where else is an industry-insider-only event covered by the likes of G4tv, The Wall Street Journal and The Christian Science Monitor?
This was my second year of attending the show, and it was as intense as ever. Booth babes and costumes were in full effect, celebrities were wandering the floor and you can’t help but feel like a kid in a candy store. (I’ve included a few images below the fold in an attempt to show a snapshot of what E3 is like.)
That feeling was well justified by the sheer scope of presentation & announcements. The quick glimpse of what’s coming in the next few years is quite impressive. This list from MediaKick gives you a nice summary and trailer links to help you experience (or re-live) the pandemonium.
The big takeaways for me this year were:
- It’s good to be in a growing industry & online gaming is growing even faster than other segments
- Innovation and technology are continuing to “change the game” and are right around the corner, especially motion control and 3D.
The industry is definitely doing well, judging by the dollars spent on elaborate booths and crazy parties. Microsoft had Cirque-du-Soleil perform for the their press announcements, Activision had a concert with artists like Usher, Rihanna, Eminem & Jane’s Addiction. Also, in addition to the growing presence of online gaming publishers on the show floor, analysts have noticed that they have been underestimating the industry’s size, and that it now accounts for 25% of the overall industry revenues. This trend was reinforced with more talk around gaming-as-a-service. Onlive, one of the leaders in this space, came out of beta and officially launched as E3 wrapped up, while Sony shared an interesting announcement that Portal 2 and Steam from Valve would be available on the Playstation Network.
Consoles are nowhere near dead though, with the addition of Microsoft Kinect and Sony Move, everyone has an interesting story around motion control interfaces. Nintendo is not resting on their laurels, but launching a new wave of games on the Wii to expand beyond the causal player market. Additionally, there was a big emphasis on 3D visualization, with Sony promising to have 20 3D titles in 2011 and Nintendo introducing the handheld 3Ds with glasses-free 3D technology.
E3 always amazes and reinvigorates with the potential of what’s to come, this year was no different and it is most definitely a great time to be in the gaming industry, especially online.