It is not shaping up to be a great year for the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Nintendo is skipping it in favor of Best Buy. 2K is just straight up skipping it altogether, which means Grand Theft Auto V ain’t showing. And the Ouya, a console with some tough reviews and an upcoming major launch at retail, has just announced it will be attending… in a parking lot across the street.
That is not a joke. It’s from an official email sent to Ouya developers:
“[We’ll] provide everything you’ll need to put on a killer game demo—Ouya console … check; controllers … check; TV … check.
You’ll be able to demo your games to media, E3 attendees, and random people on the street. Ouya’s E3 location will be 100 percent open to the public.”
Short of sending back an E3 invitation scrawled with “Only if you’ll do butt stuff”, it’s hard to think of a more stinging slap to the face to the E3 conference. E3 has been struggling to justify its existence pretty much since the Internet became relevant, and while Microsoft and Sony will likely be duking it out to see who gets to walk away with the most pointless awards, it’s pretty clear the industry in general is beginning to wash its hands of the trade show.
Why? At a guess, the Ouya announcement tells you what you really need to know: It’s all about access to the public. E3 isn’t open to the public, only to the press and industry, and that has less and less value compared to public shows like PAX or Gamescom, both of which have been rapidly growing.
In other words, E3 might have to consider opening its doors to us heathen unwashed masses, so we can see all the trailers that just go up on YouTube the same day anyway. We’re sure that once they finish fainting, they’ll get more comfortable with the idea of selling tickets.