Why E3 2019 Will Be Different From Past Years, And What To Expect

Diminished as its role in the industry might have become, the Electronic Entertainment Expo–better known as E3–remains a major showcase for the games industry. It’s undeniably in a state of upheaval, as an increasing number of companies either have distanced themselves from it (such as Electronic Arts, which opts to hold its EA Play event nearby in the days leading up to E3 proper) or removed themselves entirely (such as Sony, which will seemingly go without any kind of big event or press conference this June). Nevertheless, E3 2019 will still have a number of major press conferences from companies like Microsoft and Bethesda, and the show floor remains home to many major publishers. But how did we get to this point?

In the ’90s, gaming was without a major event of its own; in place of such a thing, developers had a presence at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). But May 1995 saw the debut of gaming’s own industry trade show in the form of E3. It was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, a site that has served as the home for the vast majority of the show’s existence. Until recent years, E3 has been closed completely to the public, serving instead as a meeting place for members of the industry and press, along with retailers. That distinction was reflected in its attendance: Even at its peak, E3 paled in comparison to the sheer size of something like Germany’s Gamescom, which is open to the public.

Press conferences held in the days prior to E3 have long served as the preeminent place for making announcements and revealing games. E3 has been home to the unveiling of major games and hardware over the past two decades. Despite the existence of other major events, like Gamescom and the Tokyo Game Show, it’s traditionally been E3 that publishers save their biggest news for.

But the last decade-plus has proven to be challenging, as the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the industry’s trade association that organizes E3, tries to figure out exactly what the show should be. From 2007-2008, it downsized the event significantly to what was known as the E3 Media and Business Summit. 2009 saw the event revert back to something closer to its former self, and more recent years have seen an increasing amount of access granted to members of the public, who had previously been unable to attend. To some degree, it’s muddled the purpose of the show; E3 is in something of an awkward middle ground now where it’s expected to simultaneously fulfill its prior role and serve as a fan event. Whereas a show like Gamescom has a day open only to industry members and the press, E3 does not. Instead, it has a few hours during the first two of its three days where the doors are not open to the public. Meanwhile, for members of the public that do attend, the reality often amounts to standing in very long lines and watching the press conferences online like those at home. It’s not really ideal for anyone.

Further complicating the purpose of E3 have been various shifts in how the industry works. Free-to-play games, games as a service, and longer console generations, combined with companies’ ability to showcase their wares through events like PlayStation Experience and Nintendo Direct, have called into question whether an event like E3, conceived during a much different era of video games, continues to be the best use of resources.

Case in point: Sony, which has typically had one of the largest presences at E3 and was responsible for one of its most significant press conferences, has opted out of E3 2019 entirely. This move comes after Sony’s atypical 2018 showing, which was criticized by some for the fact that it focused almost exclusively on four upcoming PS4 games, rather than the much wider slate we’d usually see.

Explaining the rationale behind its decision not to attend E3 2019, Sony told GameSpot last year, “As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community. PlayStation fans mean the world to us and we always want to innovate, think differently and experiment with new ways to delight gamers. As a result, we have decided not to participate in E3 in 2019. We are exploring new and familiar ways to engage our community in 2019 and can’t wait to share our plans with you.”

Subsequently, Sony Worldwide Studios head Shawn Layden expanded even further on the diminished role E3 serves. “Now we have an event in February called Destination PlayStation, where we bring all retailers and third-party partners to come hear the story for the year,” he said. “They’re making purchasing discussions in February. June, now, is just too late to have a Christmas holiday discussion with retailers. So retail has really dropped off. And journalists now, with the internet and the fact that 24/7 there is game news, it’s lost its impact around that.”

“So the trade show became a trade show without a lot of trade activity. The world has changed, but E3 hasn’t necessarily changed with it,” he added.

It remains to be seen what Sony’s plans for “new and familiar ways to engage” fans will look like. While it’s unusual for one of the three console manufacturers to not be at E3, some of the industry’s major publishers already sit it out. Rockstar doesn’t attend E3 in a public capacity, only having a presence during Microsoft or Sony press conferences when it has a game to showcase. Activision has already pulled out of E3 2019, though we do know that this year’s Call of Duty game will be discussed at the E3 Coliseum. This is a series of panels and discussions hosted by Geoff Keighley that anyone at E3 can attend. While it’s by no means equivalent to the various publishers’ press conferences, the Coliseum is home to some reveals and–as it’s open to fans at the show–feels like E3 continuing to try to figure out what it is in the modern day.

It’s not as if all of the major players have dropped out, however. Microsoft has pledged to “go big” at E3 2019. Nintendo will also be in there in a similar capacity to recent years, although it continues to use pre-recorded Nintendo Direct events rather than the live press conference it held in the past. Microsoft continues to go the live route, while EA has exited E3 and launched an event that takes place in the days prior. Other companies–including Bethesda and Square Enix–have stepped in to fill that gap with their own E3 briefings, alongside smaller publishers like Devolver. There’s also the possibility for Google, which is entering the industry with Stadia, to have an EA Play-style showcase around the time of E3, although it doesn’t appear that will come during E3 proper.

We don’t yet know what the future of E3 looks like. The ESA has faced its own issues, as detailed in a recent Variety report. Since that story was published, the group has named a new CEO, Stanley Pierre-Louis, who has spoken enthusiastically about E3. But he’ll be faced with addressing questions of whether the group that lobbies on behalf of the games industry in Washington should also be in charge of organizing a continually evolving trade show.

E3 could have been facing a significant change as soon as next year; E3 2019 had been the last show confirmed for the LACC, but that deal has since been extended to 2023, so we won’t see it moving to a different venue or city for at least a few more years. In the meantime, more companies could decide to drop out, as they decide the cost and trouble isn’t worth it–keep in mind, it’s not cheap to put on an E3 show, not to mention the impact it has on development as studios are forced to divert resources toward creating demos, trailers, and so on. And there are now more options than ever for sharing news, including the annual PSX and The Game Awards; Sony and Microsoft testing the waters with their own Nintendo Direct-style broadcasts throughout the year; and a new show in August from The Game Awards organizers called Gamescom: Opening Night Live. As a result, companies have more flexibility than ever to showcase their games when they’re ready to do so, rather than forcing an E3 demo or trailer out the door in June, regardless of when it would make the most sense to do so.

Only time will tell what future E3s will look like or how long it will continue to exist, but in the meantime, stick around GameSpot for in-depth coverage of whatever this year’s show brings, and check out the video above for a deep dive into the history of E3.

Spawn Movie Stalls, Director Todd McFarlane Says He Might “Walk Away”

It’s nearly a year since Jamie Foxx and Jeremy Renner were announced as the stars of the Spawn movie reboot, and there have been very few updates about the project since. Now Todd McFarlane, who created the demonic anti-hero for a series of hugely popular comic books in the 1990s and is set to write and direct the movie, has spoken about the delays to the film.

In an interview with comicbook.com, McFarlane revealed that little has happened in the past year and script agreement between the film’s financiers was proving to be an issue. “[We’re in] about the same spot,” he said. “The money’s sitting on the sidelines ready to go. I just need to get everyone that wants to put in money to shake their heads to the same script.

“As you can imagine, everyone has a slightly different version of it in their head. You just go and trying to appease a handful of people while not giving in to what it is that I’m trying to do myself. Because if I have to change it too much, I’ll just walk away from it all.”

McFarlane’s Spawn movie has been in the works for several years. In 2017 it was reported that the film would be produced by horror specialists Blumhouse Films, and that the budget would only be around $10 million, in order for McFarlane to make the film he wants. Foxx was announced in the lead role in May last year, while Renner joined as Detective “Twitch” Williams in July.

While McFarlane has not been specific about the current script issues, it doesn’t exactly sound like he wants to make a crowd-pleasing comic book adventure. In an interview earlier this year, McFarlane explained that the movie would contain “no joy.” He added: “There’s gonna be no fun lines in it, and it’s just gonna be this dark, ugly two hours’ worth of movie, which is essentially what a lot of supernatural/horror movies are anyway.”

The Spawn comic book was first published in 1992 and was massively popular, with the first issue selling 1.7 million copies. However, the 1997 film adaptation received a negative critical reception and underperformed commercially.

MacBook Pro, Apple Watch Deals Are Live Right Now

If you buy something through this post, IGN may get a share of the sale. For more, read our Terms of Use.

The fabled “Apple Tax” seems to have relaxed recently, particularly in the cases of the Apple Watch and the Apple Air Pods. Both items, in their various iterations, have seen discounted prices as of late.

On top of that, Amazon is offering savings on refurbished MacBook Pro models today, both the 256GB and the 512GB. They’re the Touch Bar-equipped versions, too, and they’re marked down from their already-lower “renewed” price.

Apple Watch Series 4 Deal

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Who Is the New Arkham Knight?

Another new comic book day has come and gone. If you want to know what the biggest and most noteworthy comics of the week were, you’ve come to the right place.

Scroll down to hear about some of our favorite plot twists and new debuts, and to read our new reviews and editorials. And as always, be sure to let us know your favorite books in the comments below.

Warning: this article contains spoilers for Detective Comics #1004!

Star Wars Stories The Phantom Menace Made Possible

This past weekend marked the 20th anniversary of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. It may be one of the more divisive Star Wars movies, but it also opened up a wealth of new storytelling opportunities for the franchise. We spotlighted some of the books and novels that only exist because Episode I made them possible.

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Dead Cells DLC Gets Hilarious New Trailer

French indie studio Motion Twin is celebrating the release of Dead Cells‘ new free DLC in a hilarious new trailer. Promoting the game’s Rise of the Giant DLC, we see the protagonist effortlessly incinerated by the end of the one-minute trailer.

The trailer starts with the character walking into a cave before tumbling Emperor’s New Groove-style into a pit overrun with monsters who seamlessly take all of the protagonist’s weapons. As he flees, he climbs up the bones of a giant, who reanimates itself and cheekily burns our protagonist to a crisp with eye lasers. Seems the giant doesn’t mess around. You can check out the trailer above.

In marking the Rise of Giant DLC’s release, Motion Twin has announced that the critically-acclaimed indie title sold more than two million copies. The DLC is available everywhere (Nintendo Switch, PC, and PS4) except Xbox One because, as the team has discovered, there was “a last minute bug in the Certification process.” Xbox players will see the update a bit later, Motion Twin explained.

Motion Twin also announced earlier this month that Dead Cells will make the jump from consoles and PC to mobile devices, with iOS releasing first and Android following shortly thereafter. There’s no exact release date as of yet, but the title is expected to drop “soon.”

In our Dead Cells review, we said that “Dead Cells is a phenomenal effort to blend together some very disparate genres into a tight, cohesive whole. It’s one of the better examples of how to remix ideas without losing their individual strengths.”

Fortnite Week 3 Secret Battle Star Location Guide (Season 9 Utopia Challenge)

Season 9 of Fortnite rolls on with a new batch of content for Epic’s hit battle royale shooter. In addition to the ongoing Downtown Drop limited-time mode, Week 3’s challenges are now available across PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, and mobile devices. These are your best bet for snagging all the new Season 9 cosmetics, as each task you complete will net you Battle Stars, which in turn will level up your Battle Pass and unlock rewards.

Week 3’s challenges are particularly straightforward, so you shouldn’t have too much difficulty completing them. This is fortunate, because there’s an added bonus for finishing all seven challenges from a given week: You’ll also complete one of Season 9’s Utopia challenges, which will reward you with a special loading screen. These typically hide a clue that points you to a free item hidden somewhere around the game’s map, such as a Battle Star that will level your Battle Pass up by one full tier.

If you’ve finished three weeks’ worth of missions this season, you’ll complete the third Season 9 Utopia challenge and unlock the loading screen pictured below. Per tradition, this screen features a clue leading eagle-eyed players to a free Battle Star. Specifically, the clue is scrawled onto the concrete wall the puppies are standing on; look closely and you can see the sketch of a Battle Star above a stack of cars. You’ll need to go to someplace on the map that resembles the drawing in order to find the item.

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If the drawing wasn’t clear enough, you can find a pile of cars like that in Junk Junction, near the northwestern corner of the island. Glide toward the area at the start of a match and you should be able to easily spot the stack of cars. Make your way to the top and the Battle Star will appear. Collect it, finish the match, and your Battle Pass will be leveled up by one tier. If you need more help finding it, we’ve marked the Battle Star’s location on the map below. You can also watch us lead you to it in the video at the top of this guide.

Unlike Week 2’s secret Fortbyte #13, there’s a caveat to be aware of before you can collect this Battle Star. The item will only appear if you’ve complete three full weeks’ worth of challenges, which means you won’t simply be able to go to the stack of cars in Junk Junction and expect to find it unless you’ve done all of the necessary work first. If you need help completing any earlier challenges, you can find guides for all the trickier ones in our full Fortnite Season 9 challenges roundup. We’ll continue to update that with more tips as the season rolls on.

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Epic recently rolled out Fortnite’s 9.10 update, which kicked off the aforementioned Downtown Drop LTM, which features its own assortment of challenges to complete and rewards to unlock. Alongside that, Epic introduced the Hang Time bundle, which comes with a pair of Jordan tie-in skins. Other changes the patch made include the addition of Hot Spots–areas on the island where you’ll have a chance to find Rare or better loot–and the reintroduction of the Semi-Auto Sniper Rifle, which is once again available in Vending Machines, chests, and as floor loot.

Rotten Tomatoes Introduces ‘Verified’ Audience Review/Ratings System

Rotten Tomatoes has announced and detailed its “verified” audience review and ratings system, making it easier for users to determine which reviews were written by someone who has actually seen the movie.

For eligible movies from today onward, audience scores will include fans who have been confirmed to have purchased tickets to the movie they’re reviewing. While all fans are still able to write a review regardless of if they’ve been verified for that movie, those who have will display a “verified” badge with their written reviews. According to official images shared by Rotten Tomatoes, verified and “all audience” review scores can be viewed separately.

Credit: Rotten Tomatoes.

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