Geoff Keighley isn’t worried about E3 making a comeback

Geoff Keighley isn’t worried about E3 making a comeback

Geoff Keighley isn’t sure what E3 is anymore. Even before COVID forced the cancellation of the in-person version of the giant video game commercial posing as an industry trade show for three years, the event was already a pale imitation of the big three without a publisher of what it was. before.

E3 is making a comeback. The organizers put it in a very “really this time, guys” way. But when I asked Keighley about the possibility of E3 and Summer Game Fest (affectionately known as Not-E3 or, my personal favorite, Keigh-3) co-existing next year, he just didn’t seem convinced there was a need.

“E3 said they’re coming back. Which I don’t know what that means, right? he told me at the new face-to-face component of Summer Game Fest in Los Angeles. “So, I don’t know what that means.”

Your skepticism is well founded. Last year, the ESA said it would host E3 2022 only to cancel not only the in-person event (which was probably justified given there’s still a pandemic going on), but also the digital version.

And while the prospect of E3 diving into the Thanos-esque ether is an unpleasant thought for some, Keighley is content to continue to dwell on whether or not E3 is here to compete for people’s attention.

“I don’t know what E3 is,” he said matter-of-factly. “I think we have to define what E3 is before we can say whether it’s competitive or not.”

“We are very happy with this experience,” he added. “And the publishers who are really our partners in this seem to be very happy with this as well. So we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and scale it up.”

Image: Summer Games Festival

Scale matters for newer events like Summer Game Fest, and it’s something Keighley said he’s thinking about when pondering his future in a post or even a concurrent E3 world. Play Days, the in-person component of Keigh-3 open to media and influencers, was a small affair – too small, some argue – without the familiar presence of big hitters like Sony, Xbox or Nintendo. (Although Microsoft did have a small presence through its standalone id@Xbox show and its Samsung Smart TV app.)

Keighley acknowledged the criticism that Game Fest did not do enough. “Obviously some fans wanted more announcements in terms of new games to announce, which is totally fair comment,” he said. “But we can only show the games that are actually being created.”

While there were some notable big names in attendance like sonic frontiers Y street fighter 6and the keynote had so many space shooters that it became a meme, Play Days decided to focus primarily on a smaller, more eclectic selection of games from solo and indie developers that, in Keighley’s opinion, seemed almost more appealing than focusing solely on whatever. coming from the big three.

“We have a lot of great indie games here because those are the guys that really need exposure,” he said. “That is the magic of these events that we can organize.”

He is right. There was something magical about having the opportunity to play a game that I otherwise wouldn’t have had time for in a big, crowded space like E3 (I say as a guess, as I’ve never been to an E3… even). He was in love with the magical and creepy yet comfortable vibes of Birth. a little to the left, which features puzzles that ask “how do these random objects fit together,” immediately calmed my brain obsessed with object association. When I asked Keighley what games he enjoyed, he mentioned the fabulous Time flies in which you play as a fly tasked with fulfilling as many events on your bucket list like “get drunk” or “learn to play guitar” as you can within seconds of your fly’s lifetime. Games like that get buried at E3.

Image from the Summer Game Fest Play Days demo of the puzzle game A Little To The Left

A Little To The Left was a puzzle game that I loved at Play Days
Summer Games Festival

“I love that we can have a diversity of content here,” Keighley said. “The element of discovery is so key for those indie developers, and I’m proud that we can have indie games as part of the show.”

During The Game Awards last December, Keighley made a statement that “we must not and will not tolerate any abuse, harassment or predatory practice by anyone, including our online communities.”

Although he didn’t name a specific company or developer, it was pretty clear that the comment was referring to news related to Activision Blizzard. the Supervision The publisher was not present at the Game Awards that year, but he did show up to show off. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II at the Summer Games Festival. “I think Activision’s situation has evolved,” she said, noting that “obviously there’s a lot of work to be done.”

He said that he and his team think about how to use their platform for good, which is why they made statements about Ukraine, but that with Game Fest it is a difficult situation with a delicate balance that you need to consider.

“How do we allow developers to be recognized and be a part of these programs while also thinking in the zeitgeist of what’s going on with larger companies?”

While it’s entirely possible (and perhaps easier than Keighley thinks) to do both, Keighley seems to think Game Fest should be all about the games.

“I think Summer Game Fest is a bit different than The Game Awards. The Game Awards is about recognizing excellence in the industry, an award show, and Summer Game Fest is this promotional event for video games. So it’s on a different level.”

Despite Game Fest’s relatively small size, Keighley believes it’s a success, something he hopes to replicate elsewhere. He ruled out places like London or Australia as options where he could take the event as a way to “decentralize the old model of a consumer or trade show” like E3. And whether or not E3 actually happens next year, Keighley isn’t at all bothered by the prospect of competing for eyeballs.

“I think it’s a different philosophy,” he said. “Kind of like a red ocean versus blue ocean strategy. Are you racing your friend in the water or are you finding your own space? And I hope that Play Days and Summer Game Fest have found their own space.

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