Every June since I can remember, I have had my eyes glued to my TV and computer for every morsel of the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, E3 for short. E3 was what launched my interest in Marketing. When I first started following E3 I was focused on the games, the familiar faces, and the fancy displays of developer prowess. As the years have gone by, I have shifted my focus from CG trailers to brand strategy, tech trends, and all the stuff my 15 year old self couldn’t probably care less about. This year has been no different.
((side note on CG trailers: if you are going to watch only ONE from this conference, please make it this one, unless you don’t want to see Norman Reedus stranded naked on a beach.))
By now, all of the press conferences have ended, info dumps have been thrown at the press in droves; now every fan, analyst, investor, and everyone in between gathers their opinions to throw on the internet. It is easy to spot the trends from this year’s festivities: addressing fan feedback, finding the next big thing, and VR, VR, VR.
Boy, developers and publishers REALLY want to sell you on their VR platforms and games. I have to give it up for Sony: not only did they flesh out their plans for their Playstation VR tech but they also showed off a slew of games that really impressed, and absolutely terrified. Despite VR dominating E3 through the likes Sony, Ubisoft, and Bethesda, this was not the main focus of the conference.
E3 2016 can be summed up in two words: User Experience.
Companies have realized that compelling user experiences are key to not only industry success, but also buzzworthy content, loyal consumers, and critical praise. These compelling experiences can be seen in utilizing new technologies like VR (plus others like Microsoft Hololens), second screen experiences, and even the adoption of native 4K. More recently, developers and publishers have found that the most compelling user experiences aren’t necessarily in hardware: they are in UI and games.
I feel like I’m getting a little too rigid in my analysis. Here’s the TL;DR – Everyone has realized that if I don’t care about the gameplay, story, or characters of a zombie game, I will continue to not care if I play the same game with a VR headset strapped to my face. Better? Better.
Consumers and gamers crave content that is well thought out, genuine, and just plain enjoyable. If I have to click through a million screens just to play with my friends, chances are I’ll just continue to play by myself, even if the loneliness is killing me. (and I…) Developers, just like the guys at the Inphantry office, have realized that UI can actually be a compelling experience, not just a tool helping the user get from point A to point B.
E3 2016 has really hit home this year, especially for us at Inphantry. For the first time in a while, it seems like developers, publishers, and consumers are all on the same page. We all want to see new technology in use, we want to tell compelling stories, we want experiences we remember. Now it’s up to us to create them.
If you’re an interested client looking to get involved with Inphantry for anything from brand guidelines/identity, to a new website app, or full blown experiential activation, please drop our new business guy a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email any generic questions to: email@example.com