Video gaming is more than just a hobby enjoyed by 2.7 billion people: it is a technological, social, political, educational, scientific, entertainment, medical, media, and constantly evolving ecosystem of people, platforms, experiences, enjoyment, and progress that deserves understanding.
Why should you care? Three main reasons: first, every event you host is, at some level, competing with the attention span of a large part of your audience that has been rewired by video games; second, the platform Twitch and the event TwitchCon are changing expectations of what an event can and should be (yes, even for your event that is overpopulated by Boomers); and finally, with all of the hype and promise of gamification, both in-person and for digital events, the tepid and mostly uninspiring events that prevailed these last 14 months just won’t cut it.
So, step one is to understand what we’re dealing with.
When we seek to understand the video game industry, we need to not only learn about Twitch but also, more importantly, fully comprehend the power of gaming on society, and the implications of gaming on the conference and event business. And there’s no better place to start than E3, arguably the most impactful, most relevant, and most successful video game event in the world, hosted and owned by ESA, the Entertainment Software Association. ESA is the industry association that serves the interest of the video game industry, representing members such as Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, and Activision.
360 Live Media is working with ESA on their 2021 and 2022 strategies for E3, giving us a front-row seat to support this event in continuing its relevance, dominance, and stellar brand reputation.
Three lessons everyone can learn from what ESA is doing to make their high-profile, world-famous video gaming event E3 successful.
- Play to your strengths. ESA has many of the world’s most innovative companies as members, and they fully leverage these relationships to create earned media buzz, excitement, and attraction that draws the global audience to E3. Here’s just one of the 1,000 articles and press mentions that make this point.
- ESA assembled the right partners to augment their team in support of a new strategy to design and build their show. E3 is led by a senior executive at ESA, Vicki Hawarden, who is the quarterback driving the effort to ensure E3 is a world-class digital experience in 2021 and returns to a powerhouse omnichannel experience centered in Los Angles in 2022.
- E3 is at the same time a press and media event, a product announcement platform for game developers and publishers, AND a fan experience that ignites gamers across the globe to be part of the excitement. ESA blends all of these audiences into a cultural zeitgeist moment that makes this more than just a trade event.
Easy, you may say, for E3 to pull off such a big deal event – it’s video games after all... But not so fast. Whatever industry you represent, there are forces just as powerful, audiences just as motivated, and opportunities galore to rethink how you design your event for 2022. Your audience is passionate about their careers, connecting with new people, seeing what’s new and what’s hot from your industry suppliers, and learning how to do what they do better.
Lessons from E3, Mobile World Congress, C2 Montreal, SXSW, Dreamforce, and so many other great experiences abound. As you fight the gravitational pull to recoil back to your event of 2019, think twice about how far the world has come these past two years, and look outside your industry for ideas and inspiration that you can use to make next year your best event ever.