E3 Gone: A Developer’s Perspective

by Darius Kazemi on July 31, 2006

in Uncategorized

So the Internet is abuzz with the news that E3 is officially being repurposed, and that E3 as we know it will be gone forever.

Allow me to offer the developer’s perspective: about fuckin’ time.

Forget the booth babes, forget the hype, forget the loud noises: E3 destroys productivity at game companies, and delays the release of the games you want to play. The usual scenario is this: around March, any game company that wants to have a showing at E3 puts pretty much their entire production schedule on hold to develop an “E3 build” of the game specifically for the trade show. The game may not be playable at this time, so the developers have to put in tons of stupid temporary hacks in order to make the game showable. This is what devs are doing from early March to mid-May. The devs are often in what’s called “E3 crunch” for that entire time period. And keep in mind that most of the work going in during this period is useless to the final game. In fact, the E3 work extends to about two weeks after the show, because the developers have to remove the shitty hacks they put in before they can get back to real work.

All in all, for a mid-size development team, E3 can cost tens of thousands of man-hours of labor. Time that could be spent making the game better is spent getting the public hyped about a game that will now lack a bunch of cool features that could have been implemented instead of the E3 demo!! This process has made me very sad in the past. I sincerely hope that the end of E3 as we know it also means the end of E3 crunch.

Observe, as I piss on E3′s grave.

Update: Here is an article with a million zillion other developers weighing in on the new E3. Also, don’t miss Greg Costikyan’s take on it from an indie perspective.


Aleks July 31, 2006 at 9:33 pm

Unfortunately I think the death of E3 is over-hyped. From the readings of announcements, it seems that they are re-scaling E3 to be better and more regional.

Ken Noland August 1, 2006 at 3:09 pm

Well, the question now is “Who’s going to throw the biggest parties?”

Sony? Microsoft? or, perhaps maybe Nintendo?…

My vote goes to Rockstar!

Ian Schreiber August 2, 2006 at 4:14 pm

“It will focus on press events and small meetings with media, retail, development, and other key sectors.”

Sounds like they may be scaling back the attendance, but the primary purpose is still a dialogue between developers, retail and press. While it’s nice to have some rabid fanboys at your E3 booth, you weren’t doing the “E3 Build” for them, you were doing it for the journalist standing right behind them who’s about to write up their E3 Preview.

I don’t see that changing. Sorry to rain on your parade.

Bradley Momberger August 3, 2006 at 5:22 pm

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