Summer Game Fest host and producer Jeff Kelly denied suggestions that competition from its rival event was partly responsible for this year’s E3 cancellation.
Keighley Summer Game Fest began in 2020 after splitting from E3, previously holding live Coliseum events. At the time, he indicated he was “uncomfortable” with organizer ESA’s plans for E3.
In an interview for the latest episode of the VGC Podcast, Keighley was asked how he feels about his reputation in some corners of the internet as the “E3 killer.”
“I think the E3 group killed themselves in a way,” Kelly replied. “I understand why people say [SGF killed E3]but I think if anything, we built Summer Game Fest, and I built Summer Game Fest because I saw the wheels fall off the E3 wagon.
“As someone who loves that time of year…for two decades, E3 has been a part of my life since I was a 15-year-old kid. [From] The first E3 in 1995, I went to every show. I loved it and it defined my summer.”
He added, “It was very exciting for me, and it was sad to see it start to unravel. I think they had a problem with the subject matter, and then they had a problem with engagement over recent years.”
“Yeah, I think the question is, if we don’t do the Summer Games, what will happen? I think things would have kind of got really messy this summer.”
I’m 15 years old at the first ever E3 conference back in 1995.
E3 means a lot to me, and to a lot of you, too.
– Geoff Keighley (@geoffkeighley) March 30, 2023
After weeks of speculation, E3 2023 was officially canceled in March, with new organizer ReedPop (the company behind PAX) claiming that it “simply didn’t get the sustained attention needed to execute it in a way that showcases the scale, strength, and impact of our industry.”
Some companies that previously committed to E3 such as Ubisoft have chosen to hold their own digital events instead. Others set to appear at E3, such as Sega and Tencent, appear to be appearing at Summer Game Fest.
However, addressing suggestions that the E3 cancellation may have been rushed by publishers who decided to go to Summer Game Fest instead, Keighley denied that this was the case.
“I get the vibes around it. It was sad to me that we decided to go off and build something new, but we did it all in partnership with publishers, and our list of Summer Game Fest partners didn’t change at all with the cancellation of E3 this year,” he said.
“Everyone that we’ve been working with, we’ve been working with for months around Summer Games Festival. So there was a world where Summer Games Festival coexisted with E3, and we talked a lot with them. [E3 organiser] ReedPop about that possibility, because they were more focused on a big business event, a consumer event, and that’s not what we were doing with Summer Game Fest.”
When asked how he felt when it looked like Summer Game Fest and E3 might have been competing for the same batch of new game announcements, Keighley added: “I mean, we didn’t really see it.
“E3 was canceled in 2020, after I pulled out, due to the pandemic, and Summer Game Fest started at home in a spare bedroom, and I don’t even know what I was really doing — we were just trying to figure out a way to bring the news to the fans.
And then, you remember, there was the digital E3 that they did in 2021, which was kind of their stab at, I guess, doing something similar to what we did. And then it didn’t happen last year, it didn’t happen this year. Well, I didn’t feel Starting with the competition with E3, we were doing something different, we were focusing on a big digital show that was going to be broadcast live.
“I feel good about Summer Game Fest, I think we had some really good stuff, but you live in constant fear…”@employee He talks about managing the expectations of one of the summer’s biggest shows. https://t.co/aKSSLzlZth pic.twitter.com/p7E0K7xGF1
– VGC (@VGC_News) June 1, 2023
“I think in 2021 there was probably a little bit of competition between what we were doing and what E3 was doing.
“This year, I thought we had a reasonable plan, that we were doing what we were doing with a big show in the YouTube stage, our press and influencer event, Play Days, a closed event, and E3 was going to do a big trade show in the Los Angeles Convention Center with a consumer event.” .
And I always thought maybe it was overambitious for what they were planning for this year, but I was like, ‘Wow, if they can make it happen, great.’ We scheduled the dates so it was going to be after what we did with Summer Game Fest.
“So yeah, I didn’t see it as really competitive — I questioned the feasibility of their plan, but if the industry wanted it and wanted to support that, I think people could have done both. There were some companies toying with the idea of advertising their game with us, and then making it viable. to be played by the consumer at E3.
“It’s an issue as it did, and I think for a lot of fans it was a roller coaster ride where E3 would like to come back.
And the feedback that’s always hard to see is when people are like “re-E3,” and that somehow suggests that Sony’s event would have been better if it was part of E3 or something. Which is, like the E3 we all know and love, that we grew up with. — it wasn’t really E3 for seven or eight years.”
The Summer Games Festival livestream takes place on June 8 at 12pm PT / 3pm ET / 8pm GMT.
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