No Right Answer: Jim Sterling Says E3 Isn't Worth It

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Jim Sterling Says E3 Isn't Worth It

Shake off your E3 hangover with the incomparable Jim Sterling as he makes his triumphant return to the show. Can he convince us that E3 isn't worth it?

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I have to admit I have a really hard time caring about E3 these days. I'm a student, I'm only going to play a handful of games a year anyway and most of the stuff I get really excited about comes in the form of trailers on youtube (see: Civilization Beyond Earth).

Pills_Here:
I have to admit I have a really hard time caring about E3 these days. I'm a student, I'm only going to play a handful of games a year anyway and most of the stuff I get really excited about comes in the form of trailers on youtube (see: Civilization Beyond Earth).

It's funny how opposite we are. As a student I had so much free time that I played virtually every major release title and even a few MMOs. Now that I'm in the workforce and require actual sleep I have less and less time for games, so the hands-on interviews that come out of E3 tell me so much more about games than the cool trailers that get thrown up. A large part of it is definitely more the fact that I'm starting a family (bachelor life always seems to involve about 500% games), but game time is starting to be an important resource I now have to manage.

I have to side with Dan in this particular discussion, even though I see Jim's point. While E3 may "bleed money", I still think that the gaming industry needs a big event with international "prestige" (don't know if that's the right word) to call its own.

And if the game studios really want to save money on something, well if you ask me I wouldn't mind it if developers focused less on visuals. Seriously, I don't get where the idea that cutting-edge graphics are needed for a game to sell well comes from when plenty of games that don't sport the most technically impressive visuals (e.g. Minecraft, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft) become really popular.

Of course Jim won. He's Jim Sterling. To lose would be unthinkable

I disagree on the benefit of E3 for the consumers being that we can see the games. As Jim points out in his response, they kinda tend to lie and hide behind excuses.

I think E3 has value for the press that Jim doesn't see because of the kind of critic he is: He's a critical one. He tends to take a more negative attitude and point out all the problems with a particular game or a movement in the industry. Just look at the titles of some of his recent Jimquisitions: An Industry of Pitiful Cowards, The Unholy Trinity of Blind Greedy Bastards, The Trap of Gamer Gratitude. I'm not saying that it's wrong to do so, or even that the points he is making aren't true, just that the 'bird's-eye view' of not going to E3 lets him be that critical.

The Escapist as a whole, by having people at E3, can have some people who are more willing to enjoy what's there, to offer hands-on looks that get people interested, and to cover things as they are shown and assess them there, rather than having the entire staff take a disengaged, aloof stance that works to kill excitement. One of the best things about video game journalism is that it is done almost exclusively by fans with no formal training, the kind of people who can give the audience an idea of why they got into games into the first place and some hope for the future, rather than an excessively critical stance.

Next episode: Is Jim Funnier than the other fat guy?

There's a need for marketing but there's a smart way to spend that money and there's a stupid way. At this point, most people who buy games don't know when e3 is or pay attention to any of the announcements. And many of the people who used to be interested in years past have grown jaded.

I'm not saying game companies shouldn't collectively try and sell us games that are a year away, all at the same time, but there are wiser ways to advertise.

Honestly, I have to agree with Jim. I think E3 is a waste of time, money, and really only serves to benefit the companies with the most money. People talk about the industry needing something akin to the Oscar's, but even if we accept that as true, E3 isn't it. The Oscar's, while extremely boring, biased, and generally unwatchable, at least make the attempt to be a celebration of the best that happened in the preceding year.

E3 isn't a celebration of the best we've seen in the last 12 months. It's an attempt by the companies with the most money to dazzle people with promises of things to come, promises they frequently fail to live up to, all in the hope that if they throw enough money into wowing you, they will get you excited enough to spend your money before you even find out if the game is worth buying.

In an industry where these companies are already spending millions on advertising leading up to game releases, this is the worst kind of event we could have. It gives attention to those who can most afford to buy it anyway and will get plenty for free simply because they're established names, while ignoring the people who most need the publicity but will never be able to afford to set up a booth. And all so they can get their grubby mitts into your wallet before the game is even out and you realize what a terrible idea it was to buy it.

Instead of celebrating the best the industry has to offer and drawing attention to the games that deserve it, it celebrates the most dysfunctional aspects in an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of gamers. We don't need an event like E3. It is unequivocally one of the worst things the industry does every years. It wastes money, it misleads, and it takes attention away from the things that really deserve it.

We gamers deserve better than this.

It's kinda funny but game dev tycoon got the whole E3 thing right. It's a lot of money and a lot of buzz for your game, only if your going to release it very soon, As the months tick by into the next year the money spent at E3 was just a waste. Aside from that it's just there to sell consoles and video cards.

I stopped paying attention to E3 several years ago when they changed the format away from a Convention and towards a press event. Back when the average fan could go to such an event a lot of the frauds that were trying to pull the wool over our eyes would be exposed and hidden gems would be unveiled. Now since it's all press people they have to be a slight bit more careful about what they say to keep on good standings with publishers, since if they don't they won't get early release copies for review.

I think the comparison to the Oscars is dead on. It's just a bunch of insiders standing around patting themselves on the back while the press hover around in an attempt to convince the public of their own self importance. And just like the Oscars what sells big at the box office often doesn't match with what insiders themselves think is best.

Eve Charm:
It's kinda funny but game dev tycoon got the whole E3 thing right. It's a lot of money and a lot of buzz for your game, only if your going to release it very soon, As the months tick by into the next year the money spent at E3 was just a waste. Aside from that it's just there to sell consoles and video cards.

Its why I only really paid attention to the information about the games being released in the next four to five months, for unless the game is delayed I can't see major changes to the game so I have a better understanding of what I am getting into.

The cost of setting up an E3 booth is just the tip of the money-hemorrhaging iceberg. E3 and similar shows are an absolute plague on game development; the money and work-hours wasted on getting something presentation-ready (only for none of that work to ever wind up in the real game since it was meant to shore up an incomplete scene rather than be fully functional), or working around the exact wording of milestones rather than focusing on long-term efficiency and functionality has to be seen to be believed. The amount of a game's budget that doesn't actually wind up in the product because of media stunts like E3 is absolutely staggering and disgusting.

E3 for me is just a list of bullet points when it's all done of relevant information. It's convenient getting it all in one place regardless.

Great to see Jim cameo!

woops double post

I like all of the big game reveals that typically happen during e3, but I know that I really shouldn't get excited for unreleased games, so I guess my feelings regarding e3 are very neutral.

themilo504:
I like all of the big game reveals that typically happen during e3, but I know that I really shouldn't get excited for unreleased games, so I guess my feelings regarding e3 are very neutral.

I find that too but it is helped by the fact that VERY little actually new of previously unknown comes out of E3. I think the only true big surprise this year was that Nintendo 3rd person shooting paint game. The resat were mainly sequels and the accoutrements or re-showings of BIG GAME SEQUEL X all came almost entirely devoid of real gameplay demos. I think one of the only games i saw that looked stunning AND had a lot of gameplay to show was The Witcher 3.

While I don't regularly watch this show, I had a feeling that Jim would make it a good episode and I was not disappointed. Well argued from both sides. I think Jim is right in the sense that E3 doesn't serve either the gaming public or the video game producing industry especially well. Still, I could definitely see a case for there being some industry-focused gaming convention where the big players go to trot out their cool stuff, so long as it was a bit more open and give-and-take than the one-way PR fest that is E3.

Could have done without the 'food' and 'sexual deviant' comments though. I'm sure they came from a place of genial teasing, but they came off as a bit mean, especially compared to Jim's very polite demeanor.

Some interesting points, and although Jim's presence made me watch the episode, the format still sucks.

The whole drinking/spit-take part at the end is especially annoying.

Vivi22:
Honestly, I have to agree with Jim. I think E3 is a waste of time, money, and really only serves to benefit the companies with the most money. People talk about the industry needing something akin to the Oscar's, but even if we accept that as true, E3 isn't it. The Oscar's, while extremely boring, biased, and generally unwatchable, at least make the attempt to be a celebration of the best that happened in the preceding year.

E3 isn't a celebration of the best we've seen in the last 12 months. It's an attempt by the companies with the most money to dazzle people with promises of things to come, promises they frequently fail to live up to, all in the hope that if they throw enough money into wowing you, they will get you excited enough to spend your money before you even find out if the game is worth buying.

In an industry where these companies are already spending millions on advertising leading up to game releases, this is the worst kind of event we could have. It gives attention to those who can most afford to buy it anyway and will get plenty for free simply because they're established names, while ignoring the people who most need the publicity but will never be able to afford to set up a booth. And all so they can get their grubby mitts into your wallet before the game is even out and you realize what a terrible idea it was to buy it.

Instead of celebrating the best the industry has to offer and drawing attention to the games that deserve it, it celebrates the most dysfunctional aspects in an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of gamers. We don't need an event like E3. It is unequivocally one of the worst things the industry does every years. It wastes money, it misleads, and it takes attention away from the things that really deserve it.

We gamers deserve better than this.

I can't but agree. E3 is just a marketing splurge for the big publishers and the time when a bunch of trailers that, for the most part, doesn't represent the final product and is just there to build up speed for the hype train.

Also, Jim's first appearance was clearly just some early access/preview or beta, and not representative of the final product.

Therefor it was clearly beyond critique and that he didn't win doesn't count. Because now, after several patches, bugfixes and more time in development, he's the finished product of win... that we just saw win. Even if he suffered from a breaking bug that limits the time he can run before crashing on the nearest desktop or bed. But that might get patched out soon too, so we can't complain.

I need to stop now.

Edit: I'm pretty sure Jim can be unlocked run at 60 fps now too, even if that makes physics around him act strange, the world run at double speed and Jim load before his textures. But it's cool, because we still get Jim - at the full 60$ price - and a chance to buy the season pass for just 35$; featuring 4 new ties, That 1 hour adventure, and the Willem Dafoe Voice Pack.

Ok, now I'm really stopping before it sounds like I'm complaining about Jim, and not the state of too many games nowadays.

Alfador_VII:
Some interesting points, and although Jim's presence made me watch the episode, the format still sucks.

The whole drinking/spit-take part at the end is especially annoying.

The drinking round was implemented to allow someone who was behind in points a "Hail Mary" option for pulling out a win at the end. I'm curious, because we're always open to improvement: What would you suggest to retain that option yet eliminate the drinking round?

Firefilm:

The drinking round was implemented to allow someone who was behind in points a "Hail Mary" option for pulling out a win at the end. I'm curious, because we're always open to improvement: What would you suggest to retain that option yet eliminate the drinking round?

Yeah, I see what you mean, but the main problem for me is I don't especially like either of the two regular hosts :(

Firefilm:

Alfador_VII:
Some interesting points, and although Jim's presence made me watch the episode, the format still sucks.

The whole drinking/spit-take part at the end is especially annoying.

The drinking round was implemented to allow someone who was behind in points a "Hail Mary" option for pulling out a win at the end. I'm curious, because we're always open to improvement: What would you suggest to retain that option yet eliminate the drinking round?

It would require 3rd party arbitration, but it would be nice if some of the points made were weighted. You could replace the drinking round with a round for the solid arguments, which could score up multiple points for each argument made. There's been a few times I've watched, and one side has a lot of weak points, and the other has fewer, but stronger arguments to be made. The new round could allow someone make one really good argument and score 5 points over the weaker arguments being made against it.

I dunno what to think of E3 at this point. It's a huge marketing convention... for its own sake? I'm going to ask tomorrow if some people know what E3. They most likely won't know.

Anyway, I think that the E3 is just too much marketing to the same crowds. What's the use of marketing to us? Especially when we just look for relevant information about a game.

Marketing is nice and all, but we need the world's eyes on it if it's going to cost a lot. And I'm not seeing those eyes, I'm only seeing 'our' eyes.

Signa:

Firefilm:

Alfador_VII:
Some interesting points, and although Jim's presence made me watch the episode, the format still sucks.

The whole drinking/spit-take part at the end is especially annoying.

The drinking round was implemented to allow someone who was behind in points a "Hail Mary" option for pulling out a win at the end. I'm curious, because we're always open to improvement: What would you suggest to retain that option yet eliminate the drinking round?

It would require 3rd party arbitration, but it would be nice if some of the points made were weighted. You could replace the drinking round with a round for the solid arguments, which could score up multiple points for each argument made. There's been a few times I've watched, and one side has a lot of weak points, and the other has fewer, but stronger arguments to be made. The new round could allow someone make one really good argument and score 5 points over the weaker arguments being made against it.

Honestly, weighed points isn't a bad idea. Tell you what? We will film an episode that does that, and you tell us if you like it better. Deal?

Firefilm:

Signa:

Firefilm:

The drinking round was implemented to allow someone who was behind in points a "Hail Mary" option for pulling out a win at the end. I'm curious, because we're always open to improvement: What would you suggest to retain that option yet eliminate the drinking round?

It would require 3rd party arbitration, but it would be nice if some of the points made were weighted. You could replace the drinking round with a round for the solid arguments, which could score up multiple points for each argument made. There's been a few times I've watched, and one side has a lot of weak points, and the other has fewer, but stronger arguments to be made. The new round could allow someone make one really good argument and score 5 points over the weaker arguments being made against it.

Honestly, weighed points isn't a bad idea. Tell you what? We will film an episode that does that, and you tell us if you like it better. Deal?

Deal. Can you try to PM me when the episode goes live? I don't follow you guys as religiously as other shows. I only watch the arguments I want to hear. I'll be sure to give you my feedback once I see it.

E3 is too steeped in the current pre-order culture to be worthwhile for anyone.

The argument comparing it to Oscars is wrong because Oscars are awards that happen after the fact. E3 happens before the game has gone gold.

Signa:

Firefilm:

Signa:

It would require 3rd party arbitration, but it would be nice if some of the points made were weighted. You could replace the drinking round with a round for the solid arguments, which could score up multiple points for each argument made. There's been a few times I've watched, and one side has a lot of weak points, and the other has fewer, but stronger arguments to be made. The new round could allow someone make one really good argument and score 5 points over the weaker arguments being made against it.

Honestly, weighed points isn't a bad idea. Tell you what? We will film an episode that does that, and you tell us if you like it better. Deal?

Deal. Can you try to PM me when the episode goes live? I don't follow you guys as religiously as other shows. I only watch the arguments I want to hear. I'll be sure to give you my feedback once I see it.

Done. Might be a while, we've got 6-7 episodes already filmed. We'll be in touch! Like...sexy touch.

The only thing I disagree with Jim about is getting rid of E3 altogether. I just think something about it should change so it's less off-putting and more inviting to game players. I'll come back for more once I one up with a plan for it.

I've said for years that E3 is nothing but hot air and promises. Not worth the effort.

I agree with Jim on this one. E3 has become more and more of a joke over the last few years.

I still have my E3 2004 coverage DVDs (they don't make them any more :< )

Back then, E3 still had the problem of making you get excited over games that didn't existed and make you want to spend money that you didn't have.

But at least when you eventually got the game it looked improved from E3. Today you have to wander if what you see is even what you get.

I don't think the salutation is to stop E3 but maybe to stop the industry from having so much control over it.

Put in some rules and Guidelines. Make it so that you're not allowed to show alpha footage.

If you don't have a finished game to show then you shouldn't be showing it. Everything that is showed at E3 is used to create hype and advertise products and aren't even finished yet, and I find it ridiculous that they stamp a "Work in Progress," to evade false advertising.

If it's not finished then why are you showing it.

In short, while E3 might have some nice things to show it's been abused by the games industry as a way to broadcast advertising with no responsibly.

I think with some decent regulation from a third party E3 would be a lot better.

Funny thing is, Nintendo, despite all the idiots saying they didn't show up, did show up, and they completely wrecked the competition. The Digital Event was fantastically presented (makes the press conferences of old seem archaic), didn't miss a beat, and had great content, including what is probably the most inventive new IP this gen, Splatoon. But they didn't stop there, with hours upon hours of streaming content from the Treehouse, and that's not to mention the Smash Bros. Invitational, and Nintendo had the biggest booth at the show, too.

But, yeah, I do think E3 feels like a show that's severely pointless. There are other gaming expos out there, and despite what Dan says, Hollywood doesn't actually have an equivalent to E3. The examples he used? Those are awards shows, for pete's sake, they're nothing like E3. The closest Hollywood has is maybe Comic-Con, but only for certain types of films.

In the digital age, E3 feels like an anachronism. Nintendo had the right idea when they changed things up for their presentation, and they've even been announcing big games outside of E3 on their own terms via Nintendo Direct. Why bother with the ridiculous and expensive stage presentations when you can go for tightly-edited, cleaner pre-recorded streams instead?

Ive had this thought on E3 for a long time now its been years since ive been really hyped for anything every year im just seeing more and more of the same thing i mean ffs squeals squeals squeals. It fucking says somthing of the state of E3 when i search gametrailers, gamespot, giantbomb and NONE OF THEM had ANYTHING on Warhammer40k Eternal Crusade, then i noticed it was all about the big guys, the ones that churn out the same kinda crap al the time the same guys that can afford to piss away money on advertising., i dont know its turned into the movie industry

E3 is just like DLC. The premises are good, but what they've set up so far can give more bad publicity for those companies.

Jim is right, but then again thats nothing new. What really stuck in me is Dans quote aboutindustry reacting ti us realizing its a shit game. well, if we look at historic examples the industry either blame us, fake ignorance or outright tell us we dont know what we want and they know better. so no, that doesnt really work. oh and to use your A:CM example and your Robocop example - both are financial success.

Magmarock:

I don't think the salutation is to stop E3 but maybe to stop the industry from having so much control over it.

Put in some rules and Guidelines. Make it so that you're not allowed to show alpha footage.

you want the industry to have less control over industry organized even for its own industry (E3 is NOT for the consumer, never was). umm okay that would never happen. they could easily bribe their way out of any rules anyway.

Madkipz:
E3 is too steeped in the current pre-order culture to be worthwhile for anyone.

The argument comparing it to Oscars is wrong because Oscars are awards that happen after the fact. E3 happens before the game has gone gold.

Bingo. The Oscars is an awards show which is the marketing home run for directors, producers and actors. Yes, there is buzz about next projects and it dives into the cult of celebrities like nothing else but the original focus of the event is a celebration of the art form. E3 isn't about the art of video game entertainment and celebrating the creative people behind it, its simply about securing the most pre-orders before the work is even finished.

The product hasn't been on the shelf, they can promise anything they want. Like Jim said, they get to selectively show you the bits they polished solely for the trailer. Most people can spot the 'trailer' shots of major films, the shots written in exclusively for the pre-release hype. Nobody can miss the 'trailer' areas of a bad/rushed video game. When you're in a game, you can spend hours looking at all the minor details if you really want. A film flashes before your eyes, that's what makes 'movie magic' practically work. It's an abuse of trust that happens all to often in gaming. We trust that what their showing us is representative of the game as a whole. Publishers know this and will push this to the limit.

I have only spent money on one game before its released and I'm still waiting to see how Star Citizen will turn out.[1] Nobody but investors spend money on a movie before post-production is even finished. Years ago I thought E3 would be a fun event to get ahead of the curve. These days, I'd rather just wait and see. My money is finite and I'm patient enough to watch how it all pans out after launch.

Anyway, loved the quote of the week!

[1] Though I'm very optimistic on this one obviously, why else would a broke University student find 300 bucks to throw at a website? =P

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