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Here's Why Summer Game Fest 2024 Sucked...

Summer Game Fest 2024: A Disappointing Spectacle

As the gaming community tries its best to navigate through uncharted waters in the current abrasive climate, major events like E3 have fallen by the wayside, making room for new endeavors like Geoff Keighley’s "Summer Game Fest".

Despite my somewhat (..high?) hopes and anticipation - yeah, I know - I should have known better... the latest iteration of Summer Game Fest has left me feeling underwhelmed and questioning its sustainability.

A Mixed Bag of Reveals

Summer Game Fest promised a thrilling showcase of upcoming titles, but the execution left much to be desired. The event heavily relied on CGI trailers and cinematic previews, with actual gameplay footage being a rare sight. This trend continues to be concerning for real gamers who crave a deeper look into the mechanics and feel of the games they might invest their time and money into. It feels almost as if the industry has gone too mainstream, attempting to appeal to larger audiences that care not for how a game plays, and using the short time on stage to advertise its best features.

A Twitter poll by Keighley himself revealed that nearly 68% of his followers rated the event with a C grade or worse (I went with a C), was a clear indication that the majority found it lacking. While it’s understandable that not every game can be presented with extensive gameplay demos, the balance (once again) seemed skewed too far towards flashy, non-interactive content.

The High Cost of Participation

One of the critical issues facing Summer Game Fest is the cost associated with being part of it. Participation fees are exorbitantly high, creating a barrier for smaller developers and indie studios who might otherwise benefit from the exposure.

This exclusivity undermines the event’s potential to be a diverse and inclusive platform for all game creators. According to Esquire:

"Running a trailer during Summer Game Fest’s main show this year cost $250,000 for one minute, $350,000 for one and a half minutes, $450,000 for two minutes, and $550,000 for two and a half minutes."

This is not only completely outrageous, but to be blunt, its abhorrently unsustainable. The cost added into these games goes directly on the consumer, most of which are already inundated with great games and don't have the desire to plop down another $70+ on a new title just to have it sit on the shelf. Short of GOTY title contenders, this can only end badly. The video game industry itself desperately needs to hit the reset button and come back down to earth.

The Fragmented Landscape of Game Announcements

The days when E3 was the central hub for all major gaming announcements are gone. Major players like Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, EA, Take-Two, and Ubisoft now prefer to host their own events. These companies can control their narratives and timing, making them less reliant on third-party showcases like Summer Game Fest.

There were a few notable stand-outs for me, like Cuffbust, and Killer Bean...

...and "Deer & Boy"

But for the most part, it felt like a bunch of underwhelming, overpriced AAA bloat. Ok, well... the Dragon Ball Z game looked legit too... But really, for an over two-hour long presentation, the majority of titles were forgettable.

Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox showcase is expected to feature multiple major announcements, likely overshadowing anything revealed at Summer Game Fest. This fragmentation means that events like Keighley’s will struggle to secure the big reveals needed to keep audiences engaged and excited... And it was a snoozefest, overall.

Filler Content and Missed Opportunities

The showcase featured a mix of games that felt oddly curated. While it was commendable to include more indie titles, the presence of an entirely separate indie showcase later on rendered this effort somewhat redundant. It felt more like a way to fill time rather than a genuine attempt to highlight these games.

High-profile moments, such as a brief glimpse of the ridiculously priced and lack of content on disc, DEI-filled "Star Wars Outlaws" and a costly Supercell mobile commercial starring Chris Hemsworth and Will Arnett, did VERY little to elevate the event whatsoever. The grand finale—a new gameplay trailer for "Phantom Blade Zero"—was anticlimactic, given that it wasn’t even a new reveal.

The Future of Gaming Events

Keighley himself admitted that this year’s Summer Game Fest would be “light,” but the broader implications are more concerning. More and more games and publishers are realizing they don’t need these events, just like many folks, including myself, feel we don't need "journalists" covering them. YouTube itself has removed the need for this kind of filler a realization that contributed to the eventual downfall of E3. The Game Awards might continue to thrive as the industry's premier award show, but even its role as a reveal platform is threatened by studios opting to announce major titles independently.

In an era where Rockstar can drop a "GTA 6" trailer at their leisure, and Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft can host dedicated showcases for their flagship titles, the relevance of third-party events like Summer Game Fest is dwindling. If these events are to survive, they must find new ways to add value for both developers and gamers alike, possibly by focusing more on in-depth gameplay showcases and reducing participation costs.

...and they had a stage announcement fo Allen Wake II getting a physical edition. The state of gaming in 2024, everyone.

Summer Game Fest 2024 serves as a stark reminder that while the gaming industry continues to grow and change, not all attempts to capture its spirit will succeed. It was nice to see the games, but without significant changes, the future of such events looks uncertain.


1 Comment

Disregard AAA

Aquire Indie

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