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Pure Nintendo: E3 and the Game Industry in flux

Pure Nintendo: E3 and the Game Industry in flux
James

It doesn’t matter if you are a Nintendo, Microsoft, or Sony fan; you probably felt some disappointment over E3. It even pains me to say this, but Pachter’s comments before E3 where he said it would be “boring” were partial true. The video game industry has grown and evolved over the years and so has E3.

Many people expected big things from E3 and not just from Nintendo. Many core gamers were wondering what Microsoft and Sony would do to counter-act the excitement and wonder of what Nintendo announced. On Monday evening, after the conclusion of the Microsoft and Sony events, that wonder was replaced with boredom. It was up to Nintendo to seize E3. The day wasn’t seized. The general feeling around E3, and particular the Nintendo press conference, was not really anger or upsetness but a feeling of disappointment.  There were a few mind-blowing games, Assassin’s Creed 3, Tomb Raider, (just to name a few) but for the most part E3 was missing that punch, that one big thing everyone will be talking about for years. People are turning to the big three and shrugging their shoulders  “Maybe next year will be better.” I am sure next year will be better for all three companies but E3 has lost its fire and maybe for good.

Like every good business that wants to survive, the video game industry has evolved to the changing times. Probably not more than five years ago, the average gamer had no clue what E3 was.  That has changed now that video games have emerged from the shadows into the light of mainstream. Some may credit this shift to the Wii, Kinect, or Move or the ability to find video game news quickly with sites like, Pure Nintendo, Joystiq, IGN and so on. No matter the reason, video games reach a larger demographic in 2012 than in 2007. With that further expanding reach comes changes and growing pains. I feel we are in the growing pain period.

The video game industry is all about making money. Their main focus is what will net them the biggest return in their money. (Editors note: Some are just in it for the games but if no money is made, no games can be made) The main money maker for the industry used to be the core gamer going out and buying the next Call of Duty game or Madden game every year. Now the industry is not depending on the core games. What is starting to drive the industry are games like Just Dance, Wii Fit, Your Shape, and We Sing Karaoke Revolution. These games are the ones that are selling millions in a blink of an eye. These are the games that offer the biggest return for their money.  This shift in consumers could be strongly seen during E3.

The big three’s E3 2012 presentations was pointed to impress the biggest population. During the big three’s press conferences, the core gamers had their time of nerdism; Halo 4, Beyond, and Pikmin.. Each of the big three sandwiched big core titles with a bunch on casual, some say boring, showings.  (Editors note: I am going off the Rumor that Retro was supposed to show something off at the end of Nintendo’s conference) A majority of their conferences was spent on some game or feature that reached a broader audience than Halo, Beyond or Pikmin would. Like I mentioned earlier, E3 is going mainstream. In a sense, this mainstream movement could be what pulled E3 from its deathbed in 2006.

A lot of the core gamers felt left out during E3 but sadly this may be the way of the future. Right now the game industry is trying to find a happy medium between the two polar opposite crowds. How do you appease the core gamer that has carried you this far and how do you appease the casual (even though I am starting to dislike that term) crowd that will probably carry you now, for the most part? This is a battle that we will have to sit back and let happen. I am actually interested to see what happens.

  • alexschramke

    Very interesting article, James.  While I agree that the industry is in a state of transition, i’m optimistic we will find that happy medium. I think the wii was a very positive experiment for the game industry as a whole. It taught all three big companies that video games can be enjoyed by everyone, but that hard core gamers are what keep systems alive. While the casual games sell very well, the hard core gamers are the ones who make more purchases of games than your typical casual gamer would. So to me E3 may be a little dissapointing because of the casual appeal, but the hard core titles will be coming because thats what keeps consoles alive and relevant.