After over a decade of waiting I finally made it to E3 – don’t believe the hype

We’re finally back! After years away, VG247 has made a shocking return to the Los Angeles Convention Center for E3 2024. Now, everyone knows that the show has been going through a bit of a rough patch recently, but we’re happy to be back with our boots on the ground at world’s premier video games show.

On a personal note, I’ve wanted to go to E3 ever since I was in school. I would stay up all week to watch all the livestreams and drag myself to the computer room where I and others would excitedly recap all the trailers and reveals. It’s a big part of why I got into this business. 14 years later, I’ve got my boots on the ground. No more looking back at old writer’s photographs and 360p livestreams – I can see it for myself at last.

First off: the exterior. E3 seems to have gone for a more conservative approach to marketing this year, lacking many of the massive posters or billboards that has traditionally covered the convention center’s walls. It’s no secret that the industry is in a bit of a financial slump right now, so I suppose this stripped-back approach is sensible. Still, you can still find a weathered Modern Warfare 3 (2023) poster down the road – a game so beloved they couldn’t bring themselves to take it down.

That’s not to say that there’s nothing exciting going on outside of the venue. Quite the opposite – hotdog vendors are set up on the street offering mysterious meats for a reasonable price. A juicy glizzy at $8 and some jokes about my accent is a deal you’ll struggle to find elsewhere in LA. The excitement remains palpable despite the setbacks, with numerous eager attendees camping nearby to make sure they’re the first to check out the hottest new games.

Inside the convention center it’s a similar story. Not a lot of foot traffic right now, but I’m probably here on a quiet day. I heard some guy is doing a livestream down the road or something, maybe that’s why. Once again the big publishers seem to be absent, but the good news is that it looks like those spots have been filled by Scuba Show 2024. There are these sapphire blue plastic letters that spell out scuba smack bang right in the middle of the entrance hall, as well as a handsome blow-up diver.

Scuba sign and blow up diver at Los Angeles covention hall
The final nail in the “Dave the diver is an indie game” arguement | Image credit: VG247

Up the escalators there’s a cafe that’s closed down despite it being the middle of the day, and almost a hundred empty tables that you can crash on if you’re tired of walking the show floor. On around 40 of these are printed out ads looking for aspiring divers, so perhaps if this writing gig doesn’t work out I’ll squeeze into an XXL bodysuit and give that a go. One attendee asked if I was here for the scuba show, and reacted with a blank souless stare when I stated I was in town for E3. He’d later confess his intent to sell his boat, and asked if I was interested in taking it off his hands. It doesn’t look like the Scuba industry is doing very well this year – thankfully video games are weathering the stormy season flawlessly.

Before I departed the convention center and its free Wifi – perhaps a little deflated – I wanted to peek inside the main hall to catch an echo of what E3 was like, in-person. The security guards were hard at work, directing people up some escalators to the left of the main entrance, ushering divers away from the main hall straight ahead up a small set of stairs. I instead ventured right, took some escalators up towards a temporary bag storage space then circled back to the hall from a higher level beyond their view. From there, I was able to peek through locked glass doors at the wonders of E3 2024.

E3 convention centre outside
It looks so barren without a big gaudy Call of Duty poster on it or something. | Image credit: VG247

Let me put The Bit to the side for a moment. This feeling has likey faded from the majority of industry pundits, professionals, and good folks like you sitting at home, but this is mighty depressing, I must say. I understand that E3 had been losing its lustre for years before its death, that the pressures for development teams to create E3-ready builds and demos led to untold stress (that on occasion resulted in fake trailers and demos) and that the costs were absurd. I can only assume that it reeked like BO gumbo, and that walking across the showfloor endlessly for days was rough on the feet, and the soul.

But E3 was still our little holiday. Europeans like me could pull all nighters with mates, while Americans could enjoy a TV dinner as the future of the industry paraded in front of them.

Being here in-person, after all this time, and seeing scuba divers getting ripped off by LA prices instead of me makes me mighty sad. Rest in piece, E3. The fond memories of you at your peak will exist, forever. Anyway, at least I’ve got Summer Game Fest in a few days. Here’s hoping that isn’t cancelled last minute.

By admin

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