Big game reveals (and media announcements in general) have undergone a radical shift in the modern era as social media and live streaming have become prevalent. The cost/benefit analysis for attending a major event in person compared to an HD live stream in the comfort of your own home is hard to argue, especially when gaining access at all for events such as PAX is nearly impossible due to extreme demand. Combined with major publishers such as Electronic Arts and Nintendo moving to separate events and a pre-recorded presentation respectively, the importance of a big stage event such as E3 is increasingly challenged.
That said, I strongly believe that major events like E3 still matter for gamers and the entertainment industry overall. Holding an event equivalent to the industry’s Super Bowl attracts significant attention to new and exciting developments such as virtual & augmented reality, new console hardware, 4K gaming and AAA games that energizes gamers and industry professionals alike.
E3’s tradition of major press briefings also brings an intense focus on participating developers & publishers that motivate them to bring hardware, software and services to their presentations that live up to the expectations of the annual event. Reveals such as Xbox 360 backwards compatibility on the Xbox One would have been big news under any circumstance, but unveiling it as the hammer for Microsoft’s E3 2015 briefing brought a huge amount of attention and public interest to the announcement.
Twitch, Mixer, Twitter, YouTube and other online services will continue to grow in importance in breaking and sharing news about the video game industry, but the sheer spectacle of E3 and other events such as PAX and The Game Awards will continue to serve as yearly industry milestones that take full advantage of the big stage for the largest possible audience.