There are certain goals you want to accomplish during any sort of media briefing. You want to announce new games. You want to offer helpful information on existing games. You want people watching to be comfortable. It does not seem like too difficult of a to-do list. But, when it came to Sony’s E3 2018 presentation, the company missed the mark. While there was definite effort made to create a new sort of experience and highlight specific games, it also did not do a great job building hype, keeping things moving, and ensuring people were informed.
Right from the very beginning, it seemed like something was off with Sony. This is because it decided to go with “ambiance.” Instead of having people starting out in a nice, large hall, where they could get settled and enjoy, it decided to have an initial space dedicated to watching the The Last of Us 2 trailer. People had to sit, or rather stand since it seemed like quite a small spot, through a banjo performance and trailer. Then, they were shuttled to another area for the rest of the presentation. This is just such a bad idea, since it makes it difficult for people who want to live-tweet. Also, it is incredibly distracting.
It also led to what was probably the worst moments during Sony’s E3 2018 presentation. First, the event didn’t start on time. Why? Because people were being filtered into The Last of Us 2’s space. Second, there was this massive gap between The Last of Us 2 and Ghosts of Tsushima, because people were moving between spaces. This meant we watched talking heads at home who were clearly not prepared and tried to stretch out news about God of War’s new game plus mode and Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII trailers. Not to mention, as we waited for people in the theaters to get settled, we had to watch live music performances that were not exactly enthralling.
Moving on, another problem is that Sony did not provide the right kind of context for many of its E3 2018 major trailers. The Last of Us 2, Ghosts of Tsushima, Spider-Man, and Death Stranding has these massive trailers, and we were promised information that would help us better understand them. But, these trailers were presented as isolated nuggets. We did not have explanations for what was going on, how the gameplay worked, and what we could expect. In the case of everything except Spider-Man, we still do not even have release windows! It would have been more effective to maybe have members of the development team explain what we were seeing, then have the pure trailers with no commentary up for people to review again later.
The presentation also meant that some major announcements did not get the attention they deserved. It was like Sony was so focused on meeting that one hour limit and centering on those four games that nothing else got the same attention. We had announcements of games like the Resident Evil 2 remake and Nioh 2. In any other press conference, these would have had a moment to talk to a developer and gotten more attention. But here, at Sony’s E3 2018 press conference, both were barely an afterthought.
It might make people wonder if this press conference is a sign Sony is slipping. Perhaps the E3 2018 show was a sign of overconfidence. Just because a company is on top does not mean they get to rest on their laurels. There needs to be a certain amount of effort put in to remain relevant. Sony has some incredible PlayStation 4 games on the horizon. We want to know more about them! Don’t get lax and offer terrible press conferences that do not do a good enough job of explaining and showcasing these titles.
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