E3 is all about the games, and publishers really want their audiences to enjoy experiences together—whether that be as a player or spectator. Fueled by a packed convention center of gamers, a strong message of community can be seen throughout announcements and activations at the show.
“At Xbox, we’ve always believed in the power of games to unite us all,” Xbox president Phil Spencer said during the Microsoft E3 press conference. “Today, communities of gamers not only play together, they create together and watch together. A whole new genre of games is emerging, designed for both the player and the community.”
Gaming communities create bonds over the shared love of a particular title, and E3 gave players plenty to be excited about. Strong multiplayer titles were on display from Star Wars: Battlefront II to a new expansion for Battlefield 1. Skull and Bones, an upcoming pirate sim from Ubisoft features a “learning environment” that reacts to player actions and was designed to support teams of players working together or in competition. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will be an Xbox One exclusive later this year after selling more than two million copies in Steam Early Access.
EA had its sports franchises, FIFA 18 and Madden 18 on full display during EA Play, offering players the chance to play together before the titles hit stores later this year.
Not a gamer? Not a problem. During its live broadcast, Sony highlighted a new PlayLink collection that uses smartphones instead of controllers and is meant to be played as a group. One such game is Hidden Agenda by Until Dawn developer Supermassive Games. The title allows each player to vote with their phones on choices made by the characters in-game. Players may also receive a hidden agenda that affects their decisions and how they collaborate with others.
Since players first figured out how to access the code, they have been modding their favorite games to change the look, feel and environment. Today, modding is supported not only by players but the games’ developers as well.
During its press conference, Bethesda announced an upcoming marketplace called Creation Club that will offer modifications such as armor, weapons and enhancements for Fallout 4 and Skyrim.
ARK: Survival Evolved also announced its first sponsored mod called Ragnarok, which adds fantasy creatures and environments to the game. The game’s developer, Wildcard Studios, announced the sponsored mod program in February, which pays selected creators to develop featured mods.
Mods create new ways to enjoy an existing franchise, which incidentally makes it even more interesting for spectators to watch.
Gaming has largely become a spectator sport—game video content is on track to generate $4.6 billion in revenue this year through advertising and direct spending. Gaming communities band together to watch their favorite streamers play and comment on the latest titles or classics that never go out of style.
Microsoft placed special emphasis on its Twitch-like Mixer livestream platform at E3, offering free content for anyone who linked their Xbox accounts to Mixer by June 16.
Twitch and T-Mobile brought their very own esports arena to nearby L.A. Live, where fans could watch pros compete and vote for their favorite players over social media. Twitch also has a large presence on the E3 show floor, broadcasting live throughout the day with popular Twitch partners and even showing the exclusive world premiere of Green Day’s Revolution Radio music video.
YouTube Gaming was out in force on the E3 show floor, hosting livestreams and interviews with Geoff Keighley, Rooster Teeth, YouTube creators and video game developers throughout each day.
How do YOU E3?
— YouTube Gaming (@YouTubeGaming) June 12, 2017
Of course, the biggest celebration of gaming communities at E3 is E3, itself—opening its doors to the public for the first time. Over 15,000 consumers passes were purchased for the biggest gaming event of the year, offering brands the opportunity to reach gamers on a personal level.