Officially, the Electronic Entertainment Expo begins on a Tuesday, with this year being Tuesday, June 11. Ask any member of the press, however, and they’ll tell you that E3 week starts on Sunday with the kick-off party, generally held by a major player in the game business. (We see you, Polygon! How you doin’?) But whether the Sunday party makes it into the schedule, undeniably just as important as the booth tours and visits and appointments are the press conferences on Monday, June 10.
“MegaMonday,” as I have dubbed it, usually comprises of four press conferences running pretty close to each other. Generally this consists of the Microsoft and Sony platforms, with Nintendo opting to do theirs on Tuesday right before the opening of the E3 show floor. The other two are usually held by major studios in the market, and this year as was the case last year, those two are EA and Ubisoft.
The press conferences, or “media briefings” as they’re commonly called, are not your run-of-the-mill press conferences – these are events, designed for cameras as much as notetakers, designed for broadcast as much as for information dissemination. Lights, video, music, celebrities in both gaming and entertainment, are fast and furious in these conferences. Ubisoft’s 2012 conference was hosted by comedienne and unashamed girl gamer Aisha Tyler (Archer, The Talk) and opened with Flo-Rida giving people a “Good Feeling,” featuring gameplay from Just Dance 4.
The best part of these conferences, though, is that it’s all dedicated to games. There’s no console wars in these conferences, no politicking, no posturing or attacking.
Well… maybe a little bit this year.
Increasingly, EA and Ubisoft this year have looked less like studios and more like vice presidential candidates, aligning themselves with certain partners, choosing sides in the eighth-gen race. EA has increasingly sided with Microsoft, forming an alliance making gamers uneasy at best, and has all but dismissed Nintendo. On the flip side, Ubisoft has gone on record saying that they wholeheartedly support the Wii U. Of course, both studios do this while trying to keep Sony in their good graces.
Unsurprisingly, expect EA’s conference to be all sports all the time. FIFA, their UFC game, NBA Live, and Madden 25 will take full and prominent center stage, as will EA Sports Ignite, their new online community which will link the sports games to real-time data. Surely other games will be announced and featured, but it shouldn’t come as a shock that after the SimCity debacle, EA will stick with focusing on their old reliables this year. Also, don’t be surprised if the footage mostly shown will be from a 360 or an XB1 setup.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, if EA aims to make it a BroFest, Ubisoft has no problem catching the rest of the gamers. Expect Ubisoft’s conference to be a party and a half. By announcing that Tyler will again emcee the event, Ubisoft sets the tone of the briefing to be fun times over all with cool games. E3’12 darling WATCH_DOGS will certainly get screen time, as will new footage from the almost-dead South Park: The Stick of Truth. Beyond that, Ubisoft pulls out surprises here and there, so there’s no telling what to expect from the wild card inside the MegaMonday conferences.
Possible Titles to Keep an Eye Out For: From EA: Madden 25, FIFA, UFC. From Ubisoft: WATCH_DOGS, South Park: The Stick of Truth
What They’ll Say:
From EA:“Nintendo sucks. What? Hey look over there. SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORTS! Trust us. Have we ever misled you?”
From Ubisoft: “WOOOOOOOOOOO! Party peopllllllllllllllllllllllleeeeeeeeee! Whoomp, there’s a game! Whoomp, there’s a game!” (Apparently their conference was planned by Tag Team.)
What Gamers Will Say: Honestly, their nets will work to catch a wide range of gamers, but this is simply up to what you like to play. Sports gamers will love EA’s announcements, non-sports gamers will be bored. Ubisoft tries to throw out a lot of variety, but if you are a gamer who likes one particular segment only, you may be disappointed.
What the Intert00bZ Will Say: To EA: “BOO MICROTRANSACTIONS!” To Ubisoft: “Aisha Tyler has pretty bewbies.”
What Consumers Will Say: “They look fun, but I don’t know if I can afford it if I can’t buy pre-owned for the next-gen consoles.”
EA and Ubisoft’s media briefings will be held at the pre-E3 MegaMonday on June 10. For constant E3 coverage, keep it locked on GotGame June 10-14.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo will be at the Los Angeles Convention Center June 11-13.