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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Next-Gen, E3 and Good Writing

I perhaps judged Next-Gen a bit harshly, both here and elsewhere. I'm a big man, I can admit that.

But I don't detract it completely. If the cache is still valid, check out the opening line from Next-Gen's original draft:

Senior industry sources have revealed to Next-Gen.Biz that the E3 industry event, in its present form, has been cancelled for next year and the foreseeable future.

OK, so they did caveat it with "in it's present form". And later they state "It's possible that the ESA will seek to limit the damage by organizing some form of lesser event in May". So, what's the big deal?

So, Next-Gen knew E3 wasn't being cancelled - but changed. Or at least they knew it was possible and by their text it seems like they were assuming it was probable. The opening sentence is misleading at best and contradictory at worse. If I go and eat lunch, have I "cancelled" myself? I was hungry and now that state is gone ... so using Next-Gen logic ... yes. Josh, in his present form, has been cancelled. If by "cancelled" we mean, well, not cancelled and merely changed.

Remember - the title is "E3 Finished" ... do the facts really support that? No. But it's got flair.

The more accurate way to have written the story would have been something like, "Sources have revealed that E3 may be undergoing serious changes and significant downsizing which would result in a show much diminished and of a different nature". Or if they really needed kick, "E3 as we know it may be a thing of the past, replaced by a much smaller event without major publisher support." They include some information, but neglect to tell the reader the heart of the story.

Why? Because gaming journalism isn't all that interested in the facts ... they're interested in getting a thousand forum goers to link to their article as quickly as possible. Truth and accuracy ... it's so old school. So mainstream. Why bother getting it right the first time when you can just upload later?

A lot of industry blogs seem to be almost glad for the change. Check out These Damned Machines:

Scope out the competition / consumer reaction to competition? Well, yes, I suppose, but since everyone is only showing select bits, this is quite limited.

Conversely, we break our backs all trying to make the E3 deadline for our software only to get it overshadowed by a non-interactive three minute Halo cinematic. It's in every company that shows best interest to release all their hot info on their own terms.

I totally 100% agree that the downsizing of E3 is a bummer because I've had a lot of fun there. It was a blast getting to play stuff before it comes out and getting to see friends from other companies.

But as I stood there for three days talking myself hoarse, I only really networked with maybe half a dozen people whose opinion my corporate masters actually care about. Consider that these people also came to our summer showcase and why are we spending tens of millions again? I spent way too much time being nice to drones from mall Gamespots and independent bloggers (irony noted).

Let's spend that money on giving me a raise and putting out some quality products.
-- E3 is Dead, Oh Noes!, Long Live E3!

In other words, clearly stating that E3 is being gutted and downsized isn't as interesting as saying it's cancelled for the foreseeable future. E3 being changed is probably mostly a matter for insider blogs to reminisce about since 99% of gamers aren't really going to feel the rub (you don't really think you'll avoid a hype tsunami, do you?). But OMG ... E3 IS DEAD!

That's news. Well, gaming news at least.

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