Going to E3 This Year? More Going Virtually Than Ever

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Going to E3 This Year? More Going Virtually Than Ever

E3 arrives next week, and with it the hope of gamers everywhere swells to staggering proportions, wondering what amazing treats will debut at the big show, what games will be coming out, and what we'll be seeing and playing in time for Christmas...or beyond. With over 70,000 people expected to hit the big show, you might think that no one else will be making it, especially since the show's been largely closed to the public for years. That's simply not the case, however, as more and more fans are hitting the big show...virtually.

Google, backed up by its YouTube video division, took a look at the numbers involved in virtual trips to E3, and discovered that the numbers in question were actually pretty impressive. In terms of YouTube videos, activity around “E3” actually surges just ahead of the show, likely owing to users looking for leaked game trailers and early streams of product that will be showing up. To that end, livestreams actually figure heavily into searches. Gamers will reportedly start searching for E3 news within minutes of an item breaking in a conference, and are turning increasingly to mobile devices, with a 143 percent increase in terms of E3-related Google searches on both smartphones and tablets. Views of game videos, meanwhile, nearly doubled with an 80 percent increase.

Possibly in reaction to these points, YouTube is firing up the 2014 E3 Trailer Battle, an operation that puts all the trailers from the E3 conference in one handy location for easy reference, along with the option to vote for favorites from June 9 to June 16, with the battle's winner—in terms of popularity, of course—getting the announcement June 23.

Of course, as interesting as the numbers were from Google, they weren't the only numbers. Twitch has a lineup of livestreaming ready to go, with Microsoft, EA, Bethesda, Ubisoft and Sony making up most of day one. Nintendo even has a livestream-only event in the works for day two.

With a trip to Los Angeles out of the picture for a large swath of the gaming public, it's not surprising to see an interest in catching the action online. By like token, it's a great opportunity for marketers to connect to gamers in the place said gamers are looking for a connection. This is where the gamers are going, so taking the opportunity to talk about the product—prices, release dates, and the like—is going to be extremely well received. The gamers are actively seeking this information out and it's the perfect opportunity to make a sale...or botch a sale. Consider how many games shown at E3 end up delayed beyond all recognition; how long was it between “South Park: The Stick of Truth”'s unveiling and its release? About a year and a half?

Still, this represents a pretty big opportunity for game makers to hit the gamers right where they live; this is where gamers are actively looking for news, and want to be filled in. Providing the content right where it's wanted most generally ends well, so it's a great opportunity for the game makers to step in and fill the bill.

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