As publishers and console makers in the video game industry gather in Los Angeles for E3, their annual trade show, sector players are looking for a lift ahead of the holidays.
China represents a huge opportunity for U.S. publishers, which are quickly exploring ways to monetize the country’s growing appetite for gaming. Meanwhile, some of the biggest firms in China are eyeing the U.S. market.
Although brick-and-mortar video game sales are down 14 percent year to date, a few titles have managed to stand apart from the trend, capturing players’ imagination and cash—even when they’re part of a 10-year-old franchise.
“Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” which got off to a stellar start out of the gate hasn’t lost much momentum. Catalog sales of the title have been much higher than 2011’s “Modern Warfare 3.” Plus, downloadable content sales have been strong enough to offset Activision’s lost revenue from declining “World of Warcraft” subscriptions.
E3, the annual video game extravaganza, has mostly been a closed gate. Industry insiders can attend, as can media and retail partners, but the heart of the industry, the gamer, has been forced to watch from afar.
The Entertainment Software Association hasn’t changed its official policy on the show, but that’s not stopping E3 2013 from breaking out of its cage this year.
Nintendo shocked the gaming world late Wednesday by announcing that it has decided not to hold its annual E3 press conference. Instead, the company said, it plans to focus on smaller events and will address the gaming world through a series of Nintendo Direct broadcasts, essentially cutting out the large, noisy middleman.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo is staying put in Los Angeles. The annual videogame trade show ended more than a month of speculation about a possible move Monday, announcing it will remain in downtown L.A. for another three years.
The Entertainment Software Association (which owns E3) and the city have been butting heads about the show for months over pending construction of the new Farmers Field stadium, which will require the demolition of the West Hall of the LACC — eliminating 210,000 square feet of show floor space — roughly one-third of the Center’s capacity.
The Entertainment Software Association (which owns E3) and the City of Los Angeles have settled their differences and signed a deal that calls for the video game’s premiere trade show to be held in the city for the next three years.
There are good E3 performances and there are great E3 performances. In 2012, Nintendo had neither.
While it will be a few months before the public gets its say about the Wii U, few (including Nintendo) would argue that the company showed off the console in the best light possible at this year’s industry trade show.
The obituaries started for the PlayStation Vita before the device even went on sale in the U.S. Some critics called it “overly expensive.” Others noted the odds of a dedicated game system succeeding in a smartphone world were formidable.
Three and a half months down the road, those critics haven’t let up — even as Vita sales have topped 1.8 million. And it’s not hard to see why.
After 46,000 industry insiders, retailers and journalists swarmed the Los Angeles Convention Center last week for E3, the videogame industry’s annual tradeshow, none of those people know where they’re going to be next year.
While E3 is one of the city’s biggest tradeshows, generating an estimated $40 million in revenue each year from hotel bookings, restaurant and other travel spending, the construction of the new Farmers Field football stadium could drive the show out of town in 2013.