One of the bigger changes this year was EA moving off of the E3 2016 showfloor and into its own EA Play event. Part of that change was because the company felt it needed to be able to reach out directly to its fans in a way that E3 would not allow. At Gamescom this week, EA's livestream event was more of a general look at what the company is currently working on, as opposed to a grand press event with announcements and reveals.
Speaking to Eurogamer, EA's Peter Moore outlines the publisher's thoughts on press conferences.
"I'm not too sure that press conferences have a future. Let me make a radical statement - what you see here [gestures to EA booth around], which is full, is a combination of our key customers, digital, retail, probably 40 per cent influencers," he began. "The medium is changing. Influencers, celebrities who aren't the classic journalists are finding their own way. Our job is to put the games in their hands like we did last night."
Moore addressed the idea that fans at the show and at home had a host of expectations for the event. He believes those expectations were established by previous gaming events, not anything that EA itself had promised.
"I think it's just come from so many years of doing press conferences instead of a livestream - although we had little bits of news during the stream. We did a lot of news back in June at EA Play - and these two events are now close to each other," Moore said.
Electronic Arts is feeling out the sweet spot in coverage of its games, whether that's through previews, reviews, videos, streams, or simply having events for the fans. While some might have an issue with how EA is presenting its games, what's clear is that the idea is a work-in-progress.
"I was happy with what we did - we were happy with the viewer numbers, the Twitch concurrents, the ebb and flow of what was going on. If there's a lesson to be learned, perhaps, it would be to do that in a different place," said Moore. "Once Patrick had got off stage you'll have noticed there was a lull, everyone went to go get a beer, and then after an hour or so they left. That's perfectly fine. We wanted to let you Titanfall or Battlefield, whatever you wanted."
This is really a part of the long-term shift in the industry. Publishers, developers, journalists, and community are coming to terms with the new ways we can all communicate. Part of that is driven by new media and entertainment options: YouTube channels, Twitch streamers, and even game-playing celebrities. Communication is partially about trust and where you find that trust is different for everyone.
Are there issues with some of these new media options? Yes. Some of the ethical lines haven't fully been explored and exploited yet, leading to situations like the one that sucked up the Counter-Strike Go community. But there are issues with any organization, group, or medium and we'll have to work hard to lessen those problems in the future. Together.
The classic style of enthusiast games journalism - which is a relatively young medium in and of itself - still has a place in this community. EA's just figuring out a new way to navigate the new landscape. If that means less press conferences, or press conferences in another form like Nintendo's Direct events, so be it. I think, ultimately, that the industry and community will roll with it just fine.