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Electronic Arts has been a consistent staple and presence at E3 for many years on end. Whether we love or hate what they have to show, we can usually count on EA to bring a load of content to the stage each year. Well, this year they won't be attending E3, but they will be dedicating some time to showcasing their goods at the Nokia theater around the same time.
Destructoid is reporting that Electronic Arts will be changing how they present games at E3 this year by not presenting an official booth during the usual E3 schedule. According to the Destructoid article, the EA Play session will be open to the public and will still offer gamers a look at the company's upcoming line-up for 2016 and beyond.
Over on the official EA Play website, they detail that there will be live-streams from the Nokia Theater between June 12 and June 14 taking place during the E3 event--just not actually happening in the E3 hall. It's a little like saying “I don't like your party so I'm going to make my own!” and then going across the street to host a party at the exact same time as the one you left.
The EA Play site also details that gamers from all over will be welcome to attend the EA Play event and get a first hand look at some of the upcoming titles, as well as partake in gameplay demos that will be available for home consoles, and presumably PC.
This is a stark departure for EA from their typical E3 showings, where they're usually one of the big dogs to appear at the annual event with a large booth and an hour or so long stage conference. However, they may be taking cues from Nintendo and moving to a different approach.
For those of you who don't remember, Nintendo used to host stage conferences at E3 and was one of the big three there doing major announcements. However, after the Wii U's somewhat confusing conference where the message was muddled, they opted to start doing Nintendo E3 Directs instead. This allowed them to fine-tune the message to say only what they needed and to showcase the content within a more free-form medium.
The Nintendo Directs worked.
I'm sure EA is looking to mimic that level of engagement, but I don't know if they actually have the stature to do so. Yes, they are one of the biggest software publishers in the world, but they also have an extremely negative stigma surrounding their reputation and software brands. Do people really see EA as being held back and held down by the system? Or that cultural differences have limited how they get their message out? Or that they're being misrepresented by E3? It's hard to come away thinking any of that based on their past actions.
No doubt, many game journalists will revel in the opportunity to not have to race across the Los Angeles area to get to various theaters all in one day to hit each conference. Starting a day removed from the actual E3 festivities gives EA a leg up on the competition and we'll see how they utilize the spotlight being away from the main conference.