The Strange Moment Where I Can't Talk About a Game I Played at E3

The Strange Moment Where I Can't Talk About a Game I Played at E3

Sorry for the inside baseball, but I have to get this off my chest.

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!

On Monday, I spent two hours playing a game that I can't talk about. I won't be able to talk about it for another 10 days-well after the show is already finished.

I can see the wheels turning in the heads of the marketing for this one. "If we wait until the show is finished, we'll get the hype train all to ourselves!"

But here's the problem with that reasoning: Your game is more or less absent during the biggest event of the year. Sure, maybe you showed it on separate streams; but beyond that, it's really nowhere to be found. And this is ostensibly a big budget, mainstream game designed to appeal to "core gamers"-the type of people who get unreasonably excited around E3 time and then disperse.

Infinite Warfare: An E3 embargo done right.

I don't bring this up because I want more work-we've had plenty to write about this show-nor do I really care one way or another about whether or not their game is getting sufficient hype. It just strikes me as bizarre that I just spent a full hour on a stream in which I couldn't talk about this game I got to play.

This, by the way, is somewhat common here at E3. One thing every publication does is nominate a judge, who then votes in the overall E3 awards. These judges get hands-on time with a number of games that they can't talk about so that they can vote for them. There are any number of reasons that these games aren't shown, most of which involve them not being ready yet. But I find it endlessly weird that Mike and I have essentially been sworn to secrecy on games that are probably ready to be shown to the public.

Incidentally, there is such a thing as a "good" E3 embargo. The day of the Sony press conference, I went and saw a hands-off demo of Call of Duty Infinite Warfare. The embargo for the preview was noon the next day, which gave me time to write the article without having it get swallowed up by the whirl of news from the press conferences. I appreciated that! That was some good embargo-ing by Activision.

Alas, embargos are part of the hype machine that is E3, and of covering games in general. Developers may not be able to control your coverage (and thank god for that), but they can control your access. It's part of the push and pull between the media and publishers as each tries to define the narrative around a given game. This just seems like a situation where the publisher in question is only losing an opportunity to get positive coverage during the show, but what do I know? Maybe it'll be good for them to have the floor to themselves.

Anyway, back to playing games that I can actually talk about.

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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