E3 is Fine

E3 is Fine

A lively show puts to rest worries about E3's relevance, at least for now.

We're at E3 this week, covering the year's biggest gaming event. Be sure to check out all our coverage on our E3 2016 hub!

Leading up to the show, there was a lot of chatter about E3's relevance in the face of digital distribution, streaming, and the decision by major publishers like EA to move off the show floor. Now, with the show winding to a close, I feel pretty comfortable in saying that E3 is fine.

This year's show was just as lively, crowded, and obnoxious as always. At the Nintendo booth, attendees waited up to four hours for the chance to get a glimpse of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Far from feeling dead, the E3 showfloor felt more suffocating and crowded than ever.

If anything, EA's decision to move off the showfloor to a nearby venue hurt them more than E3. Though EA Play seemed to enjoy solid crowds when it was open, EA in general felt out of sight and out of mind through most of the show. Even ostensibly major titles like Titanfall 2 and Battlefield One didn't seem to get much buzz at this year's show. Without much to show from Mass Effect Andromeda, EA felt like a bit of a black hole this year; but that was their fault and not the show's.

Otherwise, the other major players were front and center as always. Microsoft and Sony jostled for position in the West Hall with their customarily gigantic booths, both of them showing racing games - Forza Horizon 3 and Gran Turismo Sport - that proved to be major attractions. Ubisoft was there with Steep, which managed to build up a nice amount of buzz through the show. Square Enix had Deus Ex and Final Fantasy XV. And there were the usual third-party booths hawking headphones and peripherals.

Naturally, E3's reach extends well beyond the showfloor. Thousands of people watched as EA, Bethesda, Ubisoft, Microsoft, and Sony hosted dedicated press conferences. Bethesda went so far as to build a mini-E3 of their own, which they opened up to attendees after the press conference was finished. It was an impressive site - a showfloor unto itself. One way or another, E3 managed to insinuate itself into the general conversation throughout the week, even with many of the most anticipated games - Red Dead Redemption 2, Mass Effect, Crackdown 3 - being no-shows. It was gaming's time to shine, and it did.

Ultimately, it felt the same as always, which is in some ways a good thing and some ways a bad thing. I do think that E3 has reached the point where it needs to pull back its obsessive focus on triple-A games a bit. Gaming has grown in a number of diverse and interesting directions, from indies to eSports to PC gaming, and E3 has at times struggled to keep up. For now, though, the hype is undeniable.

With that, I think we can stop wondering if E3's time has passed, at least for now. Things can always change going forward. But with E3 2016 winding to a close, I feel confident in saying that it's as relevant as ever.

We're at E3 this week, covering the year's biggest gaming event. Be sure to check out all our coverage on our E3 2016 hub!

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Kat Bailey

Editor in Chief

Kat Bailey is a former freelance writer and contributor to publications including 1UP, IGN, GameSpot, GamesRadar, and EGM. Her fondest memories as a journalist are at GamePro, where she hosted RolePlayer's Realm and had legal access to the term "Protip." She is USgamer's resident mecha enthusiast, Pokemon Master, and Minnesota Vikings nut (skol).

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