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E3 press conferences hit a scale no other media event can match

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No other pop culture event comes close to the ludicrous numbers of E3

Capcom

Microsoft showed trailers for 50 games in two hours during its E3 press conference, proving once again that few shows can compete with E3 for pure density of content.

Microsoft’s Xbox conference was rapid fire trailers and announcements, without the company ever slowing down. It was a show about the quantity of games being released between now and sometime next year (mostly), designed to show just how many games are coming to the Xbox platform.

We’re likely to see similar shows from Sony — which also showed a ridiculous number of trailers last year — as well as Ubisoft, Devolver Digital and Square Enix.

Take a step back and look at the raw number of games announced over the course of three or four keynote presentations in just a few days, and you’ll see how bizarre it is. No other mega industry event where announcements are made — San Diego Comic Con, CinemaCon or Apple keynotes — comes close to the scale that E3 hits with regularity.

A studio like Marvel or Warner Bros. may drop three or four announcements at San Diego Comic-Con, but that’s it. Apple may announce a new software app, update emoji and maybe launch an iPhone, but it’s rare that Apple surpasses 10 announcements during its bi-annual keynotes. And that’s during a big year.

It’s impressive, but speaks to some interesting decisions made by the gaming industry. There are thousands of games released every year, from indie titles to AAA blockbusters. Companies like Microsoft and Sony collect as many titles as possible for their events, using E3 as a way to showcase the entire breadth of their operations. Small games join big titles on the main stage, and everything gets treated like royalty, even if it’s just for a few seconds. Companies risk being seen as failures if they don’t have dozens of trailers and announcements.

This just isn’t possible in other industries. San Diego Comic-Con is the only event that comes close, but even combining Marvel, Warner Bros., Fox, Paramount and Universal, it’s a feat if there are 20 announcements made, or 20 trailers shown. The focus is on talent, on bringing actors out to meet with fans. That’s not true for E3. The superstars at E3 are the games, and they take center stage in bulk.

Consumer shows are usually boring affairs. A couple of decent trailers, first looks and announcements littered throughout a two hour event hosted by company executives. E3 continues to be an exciting event, where a plethora of exciting moments aren’t just hoped for, but almost guaranteed by every company.

We’ve become numb to it, but it’s worth taking a moment to realize just how ridiculous it is that we don’t get one event with this many reveals, but a whole week of them. Every other entertainment industry doesn’t even try to compete on numbers, nor could they.