EA executive Peter Moore suggests that video game press conferences don’t have a future, as the company is looking to put its games in the hands of ‘influencers’ instead.
Just like EA’s new strategy for E3 2016, EA Play, the video game publisher’s Gamescom attendance wasn’t exactly traditional. Instead of the usual onslaught of announcements that fans might expect from the publisher, EA instead held a typical livestream. While the company did have plenty to reveal, including a new Battlefield 1 gameplay trailer as well as fresh details about Star Wars Battlefront’s Death Star DLC, its Gamescom attendance certainly wasn’t par for the course.
Those expecting for things to get back to ‘normal’ next year will be let down then, as EA’s new approach to video game press conferences appears to be here to stay. Making a “radical statement,” in a new interview, EA executive Peter Moore tells Eurogamer that “I’m not too sure that press conferences have a future,” before going on to explain that EA’s packed out Gamescom booth was made up of “a combination of our key customers, digital, retail, probably 40 per cent influencers.” Moore says that “the medium is changing” and that as “influencers, celebrities who aren’t the classic journalists are finding their own way,” EA’s job now is to “put the games in their hands.”
The suggestion that people who aren’t ‘classic journalists’ – such as streamers and YouTube creators like Pewdiepie – are becoming a driving force in the games industry is something that people have been hearing for a while. Previously, video game developer Double Fine suggested that traditional video game reviews are obsolete because gamers are becoming more interested in using online videos to see what a game is like. Twitch itself also recently revealed the huge impact that the livestreaming platform can have on a game’s sales, with one example, Punch Club, attributing a massive 25% of its sales to Twitch viewing.
It’s also not the first time that someone has suggested that the video game conference is dead, either. As a recent Game Rant article noted, E3 2016 could be the last one of its kind. Not only are events like E3 hugely expensive to put on, the annual bash takes place in California and is (mostly) closed off to those who aren’t part of the press, meaning that the exposure it provides may not be entirely beneficial to games companies with a significant number of international fans. It’s also worth noting that Disney Interactive and Wargaming.net decided to cancel their E3 2016 show floor plans, in a move that further supports Moore’s somewhat controversial statement.