Does E3 undermine the maturing games industry?

Dominated by uncomfortable images of half-naked women and violent "sure fire hit" games, is E3 really representative of an increasingly mature industry?

The days of videogaming being a niche hobby, a bedroom pastime for teenage boys and bearded men, are long gone. Games are a multibillion dollar industry now, and the biggest titles are far more than just products on a shelf – they’re brands, entertainment properties that are marketed as heavily as the latest Hollywood blockbuster.

No longer the embarrassing younger cousin of the other visual media, games are an art form in their own right (even if those in the "know" are still loathe to admit it), telling challenging stories and creating new interactive paradigms. And yet the biggest show on the videogame calendar remains an anachronistic throwback, dominated by uncomfortable images of half-naked women, and a headline roster of games that shows little of the diversity and intelligence that games can do so well.

E3 is supposed to be the big showcase for the videogame industry – essentially its equivalent of the suave and celebrity-draped Cannes movie festival – where the best games of the coming months are given their premieres, where console manufacturers and game developers square off against each other, battling for our attention with big reveals and exciting new intellectual properties.

In reality, from the outside at least, E3 is starting to look like something else entirely – an immovable throwback to a time when gaming needed to scream at the top of its voice for anyone to take any notice.

Look at Microsoft’s press conference for example. This was a presentation dominated by things other than games, by exercise programs, televisual entertainment and deals with various sports companies to create content for the console. The games on show were the safe choices, the big franchises that everyone already knows, loves, and shells out forty quid for once a year.

It’s not a surprise. The term "games console" is pretty much a redundant one now, with devices like the Xbox 360 and PS3 becoming entertainment hubs, focusing on delivering a variety of content directly into your living room. This is how business works, focus then expansion, but it leaves gamers with an event that, for the most part, isn’t really for us anymore, and gives the mainstream media an impression of gaming’s culture that’s wide of the mark.

To use a pretty awful term, "hardcore gamers", as some people seem to think, aren’t in danger of being left behind – in spite of the shift in focus, there were still plenty of titles to get excited about – but E3 is in danger of presenting the world with an image of gaming that does it no good whatsoever.

It’s not difficult to dig up an exciting, innovative, fresh looking game with mature themes that’s in development, it’s not difficult to find erudite developers who are willing to talk about the games that they’re creating, and it’s not difficult to staff a booth with fully clothed people who have a passion and an understanding for the product they’re going to be promoting.

E3 is stuck in a rut, locked in the past whilst the glorious future of interactive entertainment is already happening around it. We should be disappointed with the show’s output, the values it promotes and the image of gaming it gives to the rest of the world, not just because it shows an industry that’s out of touch with its consumers, but because the message it sends is so obviously wrong.

The days of the shy, stuttering videogame industry are consigned to history, but what E3 presents isn’t the confident, mature industry that’s slowly replacing it, but a brash, ignorant, in your face teen with attitude. Why can't the industry demand better?

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Graduate BI Consultant (Business Intelligence) - London

    £24000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate BI Consultant (B...

    Service Delivery Manager (Product Manager, Test and Deployment)

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager (Product Ma...

    Technical Product Marketing Specialist - London - £70,000

    £50000 - £70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Cloud Product and Solutions Marketin...

    Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

    £18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam