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San Diego Comic-Con is here, and here in a big way. Comics, movies, video games, and everything pop culture is part of the event known as Comic-Con. But with a few of the big announcements and trailers getting leaked on the internet before they were shown at the convention, and with demos available through services like Xbox Live and PSN, it raises the question of just how important conventions and trade shows really are.

Are these big conventions still needed in a day and age when Oscar-nominated films are often sent to screeners and Oscar voters in a digital format that can be viewed on a phone, tablet, or computer, and full games can be downloaded online? Some might argue that the controlled convention environment lets studios keep things from getting leaked or shown early. And while that might be the case sometimes, it is not guaranteed. Just because the studio brings an actual disc with footage on it doesn’t mean that footage wasn’t digital at some point, and it doesn’t mean that it won’t get leaked early either. Recent examples include both the Amazing Spider-Man trailer and the Avengers trailer.


OK, OK, games are different. Some might argue that the conventions allow developers to guide a player through an experience and help with questions. While that can certainly be nice sometimes, it likely is not needed. Game demos could easily be provided online and a walkthrough could be included, too — or perhaps a video chat could be used to guide a player through a demo. Yes, there is some piracy risk, but there are numerous ways that risk could be lessened by using some form of technology already available.¬†And if a game is available to be played publicly as a demo at an event like Comic Con, why not just make it a public demo for everyone to enjoy?

Now don’t get the wrong idea, I am not arguing that events like Comic Con aren’t fun. I am merely questioning how important they are today versus even 5 or 10 years ago. It seems like things like live streams and time-released demos could provide even more fans with the content they want, and allow them to consume it in a comfortable fashion without waiting in long lines. It does not seem like Comic Con or E3 or any of the other big conventions or trade shows are going anywhere anytime soon, however. The demand is certainly there, and these shows will likely continue to grow and grow.

Did you attend E3 or are you are at Comic-Con? What do you think of these events? Would like to see more coverage and demos provided to fans at home? What do you think could be done to make events like Comic-Con even better for the fans? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.