E3 2013: Who Is Not Attending and Why

You’ve probably heard by now that Valve will not be attending E3 2013. It’s not really a surprise to me personally… If they don’t have something new to show off (*cough* Half Life 3) then there’s really no point in going. It’s just a lot of time and money spent towards a booth that says we’re going to have something to share with you next year, maybe. Plus, Valve owns and operates this little system called Steam, which allows them to have as much free marketing as they want. It makes sense for Valve to stay out of this year’s E3.

But Valve isn’t the only one that’s been added to the not attending E3 2013 list. In the past couple of years the list has been slowly growing.

Earlier this year Nintendo announced that they were definitely attending E3, but that they weren’t going to have a press conference like they have in the past. It’s interesting that such a large company like Nintendo is opting out of the biggest part of E3, especially when their console competitors Microsoft and Sony are surely going to be previewing their own new game systems at their own press conferences.

We haven’t heard an official announcement yet, but I think it’s safe to say that we’re not going to see any Grand Theft Auto V announcements at E3 this year either. Rockstar Games has made a point of not attending E3 since 2005, and their games have been immensely popular without E3’s help. There is a growing number of other games and companies that make a point of not going, sometimes creating expos of their own. We’re not going to see Blizzard or Minecraft at E3 2013, but we’ll probably see them at Blizzcon and Minecon. 2K games announced that they will not have a booth, but instead are going to use their online resources like Twitch and Youtube to broadcast the next year’s agenda.

So why are people dropping out of E3, arguably the biggest and most important video game expo of the year?

I think for a combination of reasons. First, a lack of content to show off. Obviously that’s why Valve is staying away from E3 2013, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s one of the smaller hidden motives of Nintendo, too. If their competitors are coming out with new consoles, then whatever Nintendo has to announce isn’t going to look as cool compared to console announcements.

Another reason is E3 might not be as powerful as it once was, and companies don’t want to spend all sorts of time and money advertising with it. Nintendo admitted that they won’t be having a press conference because their fans are too diverse, and having a two hour presentation won’t give enough fans enough information about their individual interests. When you think about it, E3 standardizes marketing techniques to timed panels and booths, which doesn’t work for every company, but does cost a lot.

And lastly, perhaps the most important reason is the badass factor. That’s definitely why Rockstar does it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was Valve’s motive, too. By announcing that they won’t be attending E3 2013 they’ve already made the front page of every video game website on the internet, publicity that doesn’t cost a dime, and the only effort put in was a three sentence e-mail. Well played Valve, well played.


What do you think this year’s E3 is going to be like? Do you think the list of companies not attending will grow? Let us know in the comments below.

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