The Electronic Entertainment Expo (also known as the Electronic Entertainment Experience), referred to simply as E3, was a popular and massive event in the gaming industry. This once-annual event used to be THE place for game developers and studios to come together and show off their projects. Sadly, E3 2023 has been officially canceled and it’s probably never going to be organized again—we’re entering a future without E3.
With the death of E3, video game developers need to think of new ways to market their games, and indie developers have to rethink how they get exposure for their projects. E3 offered the perfect way for developers and studios to connect with fans and their target audiences. Now that the reality is that there is a future without E3, everything regarding video game advertising needs to be approached anew.
In this article, we’ll discuss why E3 was so important, and dive into alternative marketing ideas so the emptiness left behind by this event’s death isn’t as prominent.
What E3 Provided for AAA Video Game Companies
E3 was a great place for creating hype around a new game and basically offered free PR to those who attended. Of course, AAA studios have a lot of marketing strategies they use to promote their games, but getting attention at E3 was like telling the gaming industry “Hey, look over here, we’ve got something you’ll like”, and having the focus on you.
E3 also got a lot of coverage in the gaming press and mainstream media, which means everyone there had a chance of driving their consumer awareness and reaching a very wide audience. This is why a future without E3 is so worrying for developers everywhere.
The main focus of E3 was to drive marketing awareness and although it wasn’t the place for meaningful discussions with corporate ‘suits’, it was still fantastic for networking and creating a buzz around your game(s). With that said, these video game companies needed to spend quite a lot of money on splashy events and flashy booths. If you’re planning to host or attend a similar event, it’s a good idea to work with a team of professionals with experience in conference event management so you can stand out and attract your audience.
What E3 Offered to Indie Video Game Creators
E3 was awesome for AAA game development companies, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a place for indie creators to also get in on the action. Indie developers could show off their games and projects and get a lot of invaluable exposure they wouldn’t otherwise have. This meant they could save money on promotions and advertising, and focus on making the most of their time at E3. Games like Minecraft and Stardew Valley became so popular thanks to E3 exposure.
Indie developers have a hard time competing with AAA studios, and getting enough attention to make their games worth their effort is extremely tough. This massive yearly event gave these independent developers a platform so they could be noticed, and now that they’re facing a future without E3, it’s only natural that they’re disappointed and concerned.
Fortunately, not all hope is lost, and there are other ways for indie developers to get noticed, including having their own spots at event centers and using social media for hype, but we’ll get more into that later.
How Video Game Advertising May Increase Online
If Covid has taught the world anything, it’s that the internet is a wonderful place for just about anything. Whether it’s necessary for team meetings, virtual events, or connecting with target audiences, being online means you never have to be ‘away’ from your market and customers.
Also, video content is king these days, and sharing videos online is one of the most effective ways to promote your game projects. This is something that other industries know as well, which is why SEO agencies are so popular when it comes to marketing. They understand the use of keywords and how to optimize online content for specific industries so the right people see it.
The usefulness of the internet for gaming advertising isn’t going to change soon; in fact, it’s only going to become more prominent. People are spending more and more time online, and this means if you want to reach your audience, you’ll have to be online as well. Gamers are especially keen on using online forums and connecting with other gamers on the internet, so being where your audience is can open up many doors for marketing efforts.
How Video Game Conferences May Work in a Future Without E3
A future without E3 means video game conferences will have to take a new approach that doesn’t rely on these kinds of events. Video game conferences are all about connecting people in the industry and their supporters, and there are many out there attracting thousands of visitors. Gamescom and the Game Developers Conference are just two of the many events that don’t need E3 to be successful.
Learning from these events will help developers know how to host successful video game conferences that are enjoyed by everyone attending. There are expos and networking events that are priceless for developers and investors alike.
If you’re interested in attending one of these video game conferences, or even hosting your own, you should plan it carefully. There are many elements to keep in mind, such as the location, time of year, and even the weather. You’ll also have to remember that being connected to the internet is mandatory, and no conference without a good connection will get the attention it wants. Partner with a reliable IT network management service to ensure success and satisfaction.
Advertising Options Available to Video Game Creators
Video game developers are almost spoiled for choice these days, so a future without E3 isn’t really spelling the end for them. There are so many options to choose from that it can be a bit overwhelming and knowing which ones are the best can be a challenge.
Let’s check out some of the best advertising options that developers can choose from so you’ll know what direction to choose if you’re looking for marketing opportunities.
This is the most direct approach to advertising and includes Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Twitter Ads, and TikTok Ads. Reddit Ads are also a good idea.
Hosting events that promote your game is a great way to get exposure. Just make sure you’re inviting all the right people and recording the event so it can be shared online.
Partnerships and Sponsorships
If you can partner up with popular brands and get them to sponsor you, you can get a lot of exposure. Of course, this is difficult to achieve and shouldn’t be expected in most cases.
Influencer marketing is a brilliant form of advertising and is even used by AAA game development companies. You can work with smaller influencers if you can’t manage to get the big names to work with you.
Before a developer starts advertising, they need to be certain they can deal with potential customers who need to know more about them. Their official website should be up to date, their social media networks have to be connected and handled professionally, their business phone systems need to be in tip-top shape, staff trained to handle questions and complaints, and so on.
Choosing the Most Cost-Efficient Options
It can be tough to know which of these available options is the best one for your game development company. Will you be able to reach your target audience? What about connecting with other companies and networking with creators? How much will the kind of advertising you want cost? It’s a good idea to work with accountants so you don’t spend more money on advertising than you can afford. Have a good understanding of your audience and you’ll find it easier to choose the right options that will have good ROI (Return on Investment) results.
To ensure you choose the advertising options that will get the most results for your company, you should learn more about what each of them entails. Influencer marketing, for example, is all about getting people on social media excited about your game. You can work with popular Twitch streamers who play games similar to yours to play a few hours of your game and share their experience with their viewers. You’ll have to pay the streamers for their time and effort, of course.
Advertising Across a Variety of Platforms
For the best results, you shouldn’t limit your advertising options to just one or two platforms. It can be challenging to create advertisements and content for a variety of platforms, but the publicity and attention you’ll get as a result will be well worth all the effort you put in. You’ll need to come up with an advertising plan and schedule posts and content to share on these platforms so you’re consistent. People love consistency, especially when it comes to marketing and social media.
Of course, nothing in life is free, especially when it comes to advertising. Make sure you’re partnering with an accountant who has a lot of experience with accounting for businesses in the gaming industry so you don’t spend money when you don’t have to or should be saving.
Hosting In-Office Sneak Peeks for Influencers
A really cool way to get attention to your game when the future without E3 seems so sad is by hosting special in-office sneak peeks with influencers in the gaming world. This ties in with the influencer marketing discussed earlier and is a nice way to show your audience exclusive footage of you and your team making your game. Influencers tend to like having an opportunity that others don’t, such as sharing unique content.
Invite an influencer, or a group of influencers, to spend a day in your office or studio so they can document how you’re making your awesome game ideas come to life and become something that gamers can enjoy. Of course, you shouldn’t give the influencers full access control so they don’t leak spoilers or let people see something they’re not supposed to!
Hosting Smaller Video Game Conferences
Video game conferences are, in most cases, complicated and big events, but you don’t have to follow that same old recipe for your conferences. A future without E3 means you can make your own rules! If you want to host something intimate and unique, make your game conferences smaller and more exclusive.
Hire a hotel suite, invite a few important people that can help promote your game (game journalists and influencers), and host a special event that feels more connected and ‘real’ to make a great impression on your audience. Have good insurance coverage because even the smallest events can go wrong in the blink of an eye! If a hotel is too expensive, just host the conference in your studio, but make sure everything is arranged professionally so your conference doesn’t look like a second-rate event not worth your audience’s time.
An Increased Reliance on Microtransactions
Realistically, a future without E3 means making adjustments and taking opportunities you may not have considered in the past. In-game advertising is a viable option and shouldn’t be overlooked by game development agencies. Although most people hate in-game ads, if you make yours unique, interesting, and above all, honest, you can promote your game within other games. You should also consider microtransactions in your own game as a means of earning money, especially if your game is free-to-play or very affordable. You can add mini-games like quirky casino or poker games and get users to pay for coins to bet with and earn in-game rewards.
While a future without E3 may sound rather bleak and worrying for game advertising, there are many opportunities to tap into it that can be just as successful. It might take some careful planning and patience because the rewards won’t be instant, but if you use the advice shared here, your marketing can achieve all the goals you have in mind!