Friday, July 11, 2008

E3's resurrection

So, apparently, E3 is back to its old self this year. Last year's was small and sad compared to the orgy of trailers and demos that graced it in previous years. But it looks like E3 is once again where the big dogs have decided to stake their flags and shout at gamers from the mountaintop (mixing metaphors, but oh well).

This can't be pleasing developers. The many weeks, or even months, of stagnant production caused by trailer and demo prep for the big show -- I could be mistaken, but those unwelcome periods of hiatus and distraction seem to have returned. I read sighs of relief from countless developers when E3 pretended to hide behind close doors.

As a gamer, sure, I love trailers, interviews, and previews. But the quality of those games is likely to suffer from such major distractions. Distractions delay games and increase production costs, thereby putting unnecessary pressure on developers. Shows like this help journalists more than game publishers.

I could be wrong, but it seems marketing departments are given too much power in this industry. They start the ball rolling too early, serving themselves more than the games. They force milestones into unrealistic timetables, enabling them to reach a slightly wider audience with a less focused, completed, and polished game. I'm only guessing at who's to blame, but the problems are there. Advertising anything a year in advance is more bravado than good marketing sense. And quality sells in any season.

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