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What You Need to Know from the World’s Biggest Video Game Convention

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E3 is the world’s biggest gaming convention. It may not top the charts for overall attendance size (which goes to Europe’s Gamescom), but when it comes to announcements and l industry excitement, this is as big as it gets. What started as a niche gathering  for content creators, buyers, and press to glance into video gaming future has now become a highly anticipated media event. With social media providing by-the-second updates from fans and developers, and sales switching from physical to digital, the conference finds itself at a crossroads. For the first year ever, consumers are now allowed on the show floor, changing this formerly exclusive conference into a larger more interactive forum. Here are five key takeaways.

  1. Microsoft highlights Ultra High-Definition (4K) and shared ecosystems

Regardless of who you think “won” E3, there’s no doubt that Microsoft* had a strong showing. With the most powerful console soon to hit the market, Microsoft is aggressively targeting the Ultra High-Definition (4K) market. Get ready for a number of titles in the coming years, including strong console exclusives such as Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, as well as expanding cross-platform play with PC and other devices. Microsoft has presented a future vision that highlights usability as much as high quality content. As more devices and media demand more of our time, it’s hard to find fault with the company’s approach.

  1. Everyone has strategies for VR and esports

Industry publishers and developers know VR is hot and “the next big thing,” so they’re largely approaching it in the same way as esports. Everyone’s looking to get into it, with a focus on low-cost efforts to prove market viability. Skyrim, Doom, and Fallout, to name a few, represent a new wave of VR titles based on previously released content. This may or may not work, but don’t look to these as examples of the medium’s potential or proof of its viability. Just like e-sports, the ones driving the industry forward will be those banking on creative content and maintaining adequate flexibility to evolve alongside a culture constantly looking for the next best thing.

  1. Influencers, influencers everywhere

Watch any of the conferences or livestreams and you’ll find a stream of influencers permeating throughout.  Everyone is using them, and more people than ever want to be them. Walk the show floor for a few minutes and it’s relatively impossible to not see someone livestreaming their trek into the depths of gaming utopia. Co-creating content with influencers to bring the best-in-class creative and execution can help brands cut through the noise and get people talking.

  1. Consumers, aka “The Green Badges”

This year, the formerly industry-only event opened itself to the public, allowing consumers to travel the floor and enjoy the experience previously reserved for journalists and developers. Why change? The industry is changing, and E3 is trying to maintain its relevance. Consumers attend gaming conventions around the world such as Gamescom and PAX, while the Game Developers Conference is typically more exclusive for the industry. E3 lies in the middle, which is putting strain on the event. The increased attendance has meant increased hype, which is exactly what E3 wanted. In the coming weeks, look for post-mortems coming from all sides showing the impact of consumers, and especially look for ESA’s comments on E3’s decision to expand.

  1. Diversity in content and representation

While Hollywood is (finally)celebrating the creation and successful release of its tent pole summer superhero movie starring and directed by women, the gaming industry is much more progressive with representation. Content is moving quickly to reflect the cultural and sociopolitical times, largely thanks to the diversity of its creators and consumers. This has translated to greater diversity in the actual content. Genres are blending, new ones are emerging, and people are exploring new content themes and ways of experiencing this medium. Say goodbye to the stereotype of a basement-dwelling male gamer.

Kyle Stallock is an account supervisor in the DigitalEdelman Los Angeles.

*Edelman client

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