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 ANDROID FEATURE

I love LA, but I'm glad I'm not at E3

Columnist Jon Jordan on why the date, not the location, now matter
Product: E3 2018 | Publisher:  | Format: Android, iPhone, iPad, Switch
 
Welcome to the latest in our series of Pocket Gamer columns. We're taking the best games writers in the industry and giving them a platform. Veteran journalist Jon Jordan is here each week examining the trends shaping your mobile games scene.

This week, he's happy to be home.


Having spent early June in downtown Los Angeles for E3 for best part of a decade, I'm glad I'm not there this week.

Which isn't to say I didn't enjoy the experience. Generally, I had a whale of a time, but the era in which you could limit your games conference travel to GDC, E3 and the Tokyo Game Show are now long gone.

Don't miss out on a single mobile or Switch game announcement with our handy list of every title revealed at E3 2018.

As the likes of Gamescom, PAX, ChinaJoy, G-Star, Nordic Game, Casual Connect, EGX, and even Pocket Gamer Connects have found their way onto the calendar, so the importance of E3 as one of the big shows to attend has fallen away.

Ironically, of course, during this time its significance as a marketing hook for game companies to hang big announcements from - even mobile game announcements - has only increased.

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As the likes of Bethesda, EA, and Microsoft have already demonstrated, and with Sony, Nintendo, Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft etc to add their glitter to the party in the coming hours, the E3 press conference season is Christmas come early for gamers.

Which is actually what E3 was always designed to do - getting game retailers excited about the big titles coming for the holiday season.

Boots on the ground

Yet attending these company press conferences is a fairly unpleasant experience.

There's a lot of stress and waiting around for buses and taxis to physically get to the right location at the right time, then a long queue to get in, and more boredom when you're in the venue waiting for the actual conference to start.

Once it does start, however, everything happens so fast, you miss great chunks of it, and once it's ended you're off to the next conference, probably trying to get a decent data connection to get your article live.

Small wonder I progressed from enthuastically attending any press conferences that would invite me to sitting a bar around the corner from the EA press conference (because the queue was so massive) and watching the whole thing online.

The logical next step was to cut the jetlag and cost and just do the same thing from home.

LA Ex

Certainly, something is lost in translation. I always loved downtown LA - the smell, the warmth, the architecture, having breakfast in The Original Pantry "Never Closed Since 1950" or a nice cold one in the Biltmore Hotel's Gallery Bar.

As a show, E3 can also generate plenty of excitement as the crowds flood through the doors at the start of each day into a cauldron of flashing lights and booming bass.

But as the industry has consolidated, making fewer, more expensive games, the show floor has become more controlled and less surprising.

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I still ponder whether the hours I spent queuing to play the Nintendo 3DS for 20 minutes were actually worth it. Especially as I queued up twice, the second time just to confirm the 3D effect was really as bad as I originally found it. (It was.)

More generally, with most industry meetings now taking place in the complex of hotels nearby, the physical importance of E3 in terms of the show held at the Staples Centre has become overshadowed - ironically both amplified and diluted - by what Twitter thinks about each game announcements.

And despite what it apparently thinks about the new mobile version of Command & Conquer: Rivals, I'm fired up, ready to go and already pre-registered on Google Play. Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls: Blades is less interesting (Infinity Blade is so 2010), while Microsoft's Gears Pop looks like being the surprise package, at least when it comes to E3's mobile games.

Good news all round then, especially following a good night's sleep in my own bed.

If this column has given you food for thought, share your comments below and bookmark Jon Jordan's page for more of the same next Monday. Remember to also check out words of wisdom and mirth from experienced games journalists Susan Arendt and Harry Slater each week.

 

Reviewer photo
Jon Jordan 11 June 2018
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