Video Game Companies Waver on E3

Video Game Companies Waver on E3
Gamers at E3 2018.

The Entertainment Software Association has called its annual E3 conference, taking place this week at the Los Angeles Convention Center, “the world’s premier event for computer and video games.”

But not all game companies see it that way.

Several local developers, including Culver City-based Scopely and Jam City Inc., Sawtelle headquartered Riot Games Inc., and Burbank-based Insomniac Games Inc., are skipping the three-day conference this year. Among that group, only Insomniac attended the show last year.

High-profile game developer and console maker Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc. also decided not to attend this year’s event.

For the bulk of the industry, though, E3 remains an essential event. According to ESA, 208 exhibitors are signed up for this year’s conference. That’s up slightly from 200 exhibitors last year but far below the 293 that attended in 2017.

Heavy hitters in attendance this year include Fortnite-maker Epic Games Inc. Bethesda, Square Enix Inc., and Ubisoft Entertainment are all scheduled to exhibit and hold press conferences, as is Alphabet Inc.’s Google.

Nintendo and EA Games are attending as exhibitors, but both companies are planning press announcements separate from the conference. Larger video game brands can often connect better with their audiences via their own channels, rather than needing the boost provided by E3.

Nintendo announced details on a Pokemon game tied to its Switch product on June 5, and the company is holding an offsite esports tournament on June 8.

EA is staging its own offsite event, dubbed “EA Play” and featuring announcements about several of its titles, on June 8-9.

Attendance at the show overall has been increasing of late. In 2016, E3 attracted 50,200 people, according to ESA figures. That number rose to 68,400 in 2017, the first year tickets were sold to the public. Last year’s show grew to 69,200.

Tech reporter Samson Amore can be reached at [email protected] or (323) 556-8335. Follow him on Twitter @samsonamore.

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