Half a decade ago, I easily would have explained, if asked or even just hinted at, that E3 was one of my favorite big events each year. I used to count down towards each years E3, and then spend every waking moment watching new trailers, studio conferences, and interviews. I loved E3. It was the biggest event of the year for me.
But over the last few years, I've noticed myself caring about E3 less and less. The interest is waning, disappearing. Then this year I did the unthinkable: I didn't even watch. My usual place in front of my PC watching every single press conference, pouring over trailers...it just didn't happen. I watched the Rayman Legends reveal, the Watch Dogs reveal...and then I just walked away.
To be honest, I even surprised myself with my apathy towards E3. I love games, always have and still do, but E3 just isn't doing anything for me anymore. It doesn't feel like its about the games or the gamers anymore. Someone online made the observation that it felt more like and investor conference, something meant for a bunch of suits throwing money at things they barely understood and I had to agree. Just look at the track record for E3 over the last few years. Kotaku has a wonderful write-up on their site concerning the big three studios and the promises they make last year, checking in on each one of them and seeing how may of them pan out. The result? A good chunk of the E3 promises, quite a few of which are barely game related, go unfulfilled.
Which is why while I find myself less and less about E3, I've found myself more and more intrigued by PAX in all its forms each year. At E3, I feel like for the most part I'm seeing everything that I've seen before. Sequel, sequel, sequel, new--oh wait that's a sequel, promise of a feature in a sequel that ties my game to facebook that I'll never use...I could go on but if you've been watching E3 lately you know what I'm talking about.
Meanwhile, PAX reminds me exactly what I watched an event like E3 for. No booth babes, no inane investment doublespeak. Just games. New games. New ideas. Want to see a game that's played backwards? if someones making it, you'll probably see it at PAX. PAX is about games, not the companies behind them.
So for the first time ever that I can recall, I skipped E3 because there was nothing interesting about it to hold my attention that I wanted to see. For me gaming is about the games. Not the booth babes or the cable tie-ins. Its about the game: what I play, who I play it with, and how it plays. I never watched E3 to see the same game from year to year, or see how the newest Clone of Duty game plays. I watched it to see what was new and fun, and in the last few years, E3 has stopped bringing that.
So until it brings its focus back to the real core of gaming, the games themselves, I'll be watching PAX.