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Impressions from E3

By on June 3, 2009
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It’s been a busy show so far, with a dozen meetings already. Here are the key take-aways so far:

  • This console cycle is all about peripherals. Seems like almost every game has a $50+ piece of plastic attached to it. Is the new version of the blades and razor model: once you have paid the money for the Rock Band kit, you’re unlikely to spend the money to switch to Guitar Hero?
  • The PS3/Xbox 360 cycle is going to be much longer than ever before. With the two manufacturers vying for second place, neither has an incentive to kickstart the next loss-making cycle. Also developers are saying that they don’t need much more raw horsepower; they just need time to get to grips with making great games cost-effective on the current generation
  • Nintendo may not play the same game: Wii 2 may well be here in 2010, more likely 2011
  • The film biz is desperate to be associated with the fast-growing games: While games still suffers from an inferiority complex relative to traditional media such as movies and music, the reality is that our industry is faster-growing and more relevant to a wider audience. So the presence of Spielberg and James Cameron at the show is a sign of the film industry’s weakness, not ours.
  • Casual / downloadable doesn’t know how to shout about its great games yet: E3 is for traditional retail model. The companies here in force are traditional publishers trying to sell to retail buyers and the press. The digital download revolution is not yet marketable.

Any else who has attended/followed the show via Twitter/liveblogging/websites, please feel free to add your perceptions in the comments.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve:
  • While I think that the PC does compete, it’s not a key component of E3 any more. Most of the growth is in web/social games, in free MMOs (which may be high quality like Dungeons and Dragons Online) and in smaller titles (like those published by Paradox) which have loyal followings but nothing like the sales of Call of Duty 4 or Guitar Hero.

    So I think that E3 is going to be less and less about PC, even though that doesn’t mean that I think that the PC is in decline.

  • BookMan

    No mention of PC Games.
    This link comments on PC Games investment growth in 2011 – Save for the odd joystick, no $50 pieces of plastic hanging off of them though (but I have the sneaky suspicion that Guitar Hero might be on its way). With evermore console upgrades/replacement models, does the PC still compete?

    Aside: I see that EVE won’t be going to consoles but maybe to hand-held mobiles.

  • deftangel

    I don’t think there will be a Wii “2” per se, certainly not in 2010. Nintendo have adopted an iPod style model for the DS with regular refreshes and once sales dip below an acceptable level in Kyoto they’ll do the same with a Wii+ or WiiHD etc.

    I get the impression their initial run of sales has lasted longer than they envisioned. They seemed to be on auto-pilot for much of their presser yesterday.