Remembering E3 : why it was the best of times and worst of times
Ah, E3. (the show formerly known a Electronic Entertainment Expo) Gamers know it as the avalanche of new game announcements and an orgy of screen shots and breathless coverage by the geek world at large.
Here is an insightful documentary on what it was like to be at E3, which you should checkout before reading on.
OK, the video isn’t a documentary, and it isn’t even about E3, but it does give you a flavor of what being at E3 is all about. Cool technology, crazy floor shows, nerds and booth babes uneasily eying each other.
For the developers preparing for the show however, it is a very different experience. Showing your game as E3 was a milestone you definitely have to hit. In the days before multi-million dollar campaigns, having a good showing at E3 can get you buzz and notice from a lot of the gamers.Highly anticipated games can get away with just showing a trailer or a movie. I think “Doom 3″ had trailers for three E3 in a row and won “Best of …” awards twice.
For games that are relatively unknown going in to E3 however, you want a demo to blow people away.So that means planning months ahead of time to plot out the demo you want to create. Crunching for weeks, if you are lucky, to actually create the demo. If your game was suppose to be shown on the floor and playable, then you are probably working up until the night before E3 starts and overnighting the final DVD burn. The testers usually have a knack of finding new kinds of bugs just before the milestone.
Because E3 is about selling the game to retailers and the public, only a handful of “essential” people are paid for by the company to attend, which means leads and producers. So imagine the scene back at the office, you’ve been working your butt off for weeks, the milestone if finally over and all the leads are gone?
E3 week for most developers are a time of relief and goofing off. You’ll spend a lot of time following the E3 news on the web, and waiting to hear news back from those who went about the reactions to your game.
I’ll definitely miss going to E3, but I can do without the preparation leading up to it.
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