Is Summer Game Fest Replacing E3?

With many surprising announcements at Summer Game Fest, does E3 stand to make a come back?

By MChipmunks, Posted 15 Jun 2023

Summer is truly a special time of the year when the weather is warmer, the grass is greener, and gaming companies play their best hand from their deck. Specifically, they announce their upcoming titles and provide updates to existing ones. It used to be via E3, the grandest stage of them all when it comes to video games, the WrestleMania, or Super Bowl of video games if you will. It's that time of year to prepare the massive holiday wishlist, and even beyond that. For over half a decade, E3 seemingly struggles to remain relevant. E3 has been effectively canceled in 2023 with every major gaming company bowing out.

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Nintendo hasn't had a stage presence in a long time, as they opted for their pre-recorded Nintendo Direct format in 2013. That's a whole decade. The last proper E3 showcase with Sony and Microsoft on stage was in 2019. Even then, the hype petered out over time. Phil Spencer overpromising with new titles from a plethora of acquired studios that are nowhere to be seen is enough to make any gamer let out a collective groan. What exactly happened? Ever since Covid-19 swept the world in 2020, everything changed for obvious reasons, with most developers/publishers opting for the direct style presentation started by Nintendo.

 Industry icon, games journalist, and creator/host of The Game Awards, Geoff Keighley, has picked up the pieces with the start of Summer Games Fest from his home in 2021. Ever since then, E3 has been non-existent outside the one time they tried a digital-only format in 2021. With Sony, Nintendo, and Xbox opting to back out of E3 this year, the event was effectively canceled. Summer Games Fest has all the bells and whistles of E3, including the stage presence, awkwardness included of course. I love Nicolas Cage as much as the next guy, but did we need him talking for about five minutes straight about nonsense? Most of which didn't pertain to his appearance in Dead By Daylight. 

None of this matters, because Summer Game Fest 2023 had enough video game announcements to choke a horse. Not to mention, Sony held a PlayStation showcase ahead of the event on May 24th. Indie game developers have also started hosting live streams with the ever-adorable Wholesome Direct, Day Of The Devs, and Future Games Show to name a few. Gaming companies are filling that void left by the absence of E3. So, this begs the question, do we even need E3 anymore? I don't think so. Geoff and his coordination of gaming events for the past decade have been fantastic, outside some glaring problems like pacing issues. This plagues almost every gaming conference, unfortunately.

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Nonetheless, many thanks to Geoff Keighley for keeping the spirit of hype game reveals alive and well during this special time of the year. E3 was always such a spectacle. The excitement leading up to the event was a feeling unlike any other. What did the big dogs have in store for us? What games are going to make us reach into our pockets to throw our wallets at the screen? These are the big questions asked every E3 season. Give the gaming community a reason to spend that hard-earned money on quality entertainment. If this is to be the last of E3, I'd like to reflect on what made it so special to the gaming community.

E3 2013 in particular, will forever be seared into my memories' museum. Jack Tretton, former president of Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), took the stage to tell consumers why the PlayStation brand matters and showcase the powerhouse console that is the PS4. This conference single-handedly forced Xbox to reverse its policies with the Xbox One, including its DRM practices and restriction towards sharing Xbox One games with others. Adding insult to injury, PlayStation would upload a video on how to share games with friends. Former president of Sony Interactive Entertainment, Shuhei Yoshida, literally hands Adam Boyes a game. Xbox is still feeling the effects of those days in the present.

Who could forget the first time former Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Aime, introduced himself at E3 2004 with Nintendo's new mission statement: "My name is Reggie, I'm about kickin' ass, I'm about takin' names, and we're about makin' games." This blew the gaming community away. Nintendo, known for an always family-friendly image for the brand, just came out swinging with this new kid on the block who effectively worked towards building rapport for the Nintendo community again. This was the type of exciting thing you can only find on an E3 stage.

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Where do we go moving forward? Summer Game Fest has the stage presence, the back-to-back game reveals, and the cringy humor worthy of an E3 press conference. Okay, maybe not as cringy as Konami's 2010 E3 conference. I don't think anything can top that level of awkwardness. Thank you, Tak Fujii, for going over Ninety Nine Nights Two and its one million troops. Sorry, where are my manners? Giant enemy crab, anyone? I believe this is the way. Summer Game Fest not only held a general conference, but a host of others from juggernauts like Ubisoft, Square Enix, Xbox, and Devolver Digital to name a few.

On-stage banter can be delightful in the right measure, but we are here for one thing, and that is the games. The back-to-back game reveals with a few moments of discussion of what we just saw on screen is the way to have a successful conference. Microsoft came back better than ever this year. Game after game, trailer after trailer. Fable made a reappearance with a CGI trailer. Atlus showed off Persona 3: Reload, a new Persona 5 spin-off with Persona 5 Tactica, and Project Re Fantasy reintroduced as Metaphor: ReFantazio. A Starfield direct following the conference was the cherry on top of this explosive sundae! This was just the kind of showing they needed after the doomed launch of Redfall and the lack of strong first-party support.

Ed Boon came out of hiding with Mortal Kombat 1 gameplay and looks to be another brutal inclusion in this famous gore fest of a franchise. Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth set gamer's hearts in a flutter with the latest trailer that had us all passed out on a stretcher, just like Tifa. From famed Dragon Ball creator, Akira Toriyama, comes a video game adaptation of his Mad Max-inspired manga, Sand Land. His trademark art style looks stunning as always, and I cannot wait for more details. Sonic Superstars looks to keep the Sonic renaissance moving with gorgeous updated visuals, tight gameplay, and four-player co-op. Alan Wake II looks haunting with its dreary atmosphere and is shaping up to be an excellent sequel to the original. It has been a spectacular summer of game reveals. Final Fantasy XVI is about to drop soon as well, so there is plenty for gamers to engorge themselves on. Summer Game Fest easily receives an A from me.

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If E3 does decide to make a return by next year, it would just clash with Summer Game Fest unless it proves it can stand on its own. Only the future can tell what happens next. With Summer Game Fest and The Game Awards, Geoff Keighley has been trailblazing with gaming announcements, and I hope he can maintain that momentum going forward. For now, it is safe to assume that E3 may be canceled indefinitely.

Michael Nicolosi (@ChipmunksMikey)
Editor, NoobFeed

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Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360, PS3, PC, WII, 3DS, Vita, Mobile
Publisher(s): NoobFeed
Developer(s): NoobFeed Editors
Genres: Artcile
Themes: Feature, Editorial, Interviews, Opinion Pieces
Release Date: 2009-02-14

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