Electronic Arts will once again abstain from the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2017. While under no obligation to participate, the question arises - why would one of gaming's biggest publishing entities avoid the industry 'main event'?
Electronic Arts won't be presenting directly on E3 2017 during June 13 - 15 in Los Angeles. Instead, they will be holding their own promotional/press event a relatively short distance away and starting a little earlier, going from the 10 - 12 June. EA's games will still be around with other presenters, but the company will not have a proper dedicated booth, stage or presentation with the main circus.
Same as last year, I started scratching my head furiously at this move. EA aren't stupid, they like money and they most likely have quality PR people. They probably know what they are doing.
I never ran a multi-billion dollar corporation and I'm not a business executive. I'm no PR specialist or market analyst but I can speculate with the best of them. Here is a list of what appear to me as good reasons to hold a separate event in the manner in which EA will be doing in June this year. Some or most of these seem sensible to me, and the devilish detail of truth, probably lies somewhere in the way these interact and interconnect.
- It's not an industry only event, meaning everyone can get in, which makes the host appear more sympathetic and oriented towards fans and customers, rather than towards the industry
- Everyone being able to get into your presentation, unburdens the company's reliance on the press folk present at the main E3 event
- Fans who visit EA's own show are more likely to produce a good measure of hype, whereas journalists and other professionals might be more seceptical
- Hosting your own event, means your are doing something different, which is again, good for your image
- Starting earlier than the main event, makes sure your presentations won't be drowned out by the competition, in terms of presentation quality as well as subsequent media coverage
- Starting sooner than everyone else gives you a good chance of setting the tone for the entire run of presentations and coverage that follow
- EA is very well aware of the size and importance of their presence and knows that most parties involved will have to come to them, regardless of where their presentation takes place
- Making your absence felt from the main E3 event in a physical sense, must have a psychological effect on most attendees - one that is more likely than not advantageous for EA
- While your event is taking place some place and time other than the main event, you are in a way still present through other presenters (Sony or Microsoft for eg.) displaying your brand and products
- Live-streaming the presentation worked for Nintendo, right?
- Having your own space to present your products in whatever manner you see fit and with greater freedom to do so in comparison to the main pavilion - grants EA crucial control over atmosphere
- The mere act of holding a separate event provides you with free publicity (the existence of this article is clear proof of that
- Since it is highly likely that EA will continue with holding a separate presentation in the future, the presentation itself further develops as a brand in its own right
- More control over everything regarding ones own presentation, while in a sense managing to cast a shadow over all other presenters at the main E3 event
These are just some positives off the top of my mind and I find it quite hard to see a downside for EA. For all other parties involved and E3 itself? Well, terms like undermining and subversion come to mind, but that would just be more speculation.