EA won't hold a traditional E3 press conference, focusing on streams instead
The company is reworking its EA Play fan event this year to focus on individual livestreams.
Ian SherrFormer Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. At CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Electronic Arts is rethinking the way it'll make big announcements when the E3 video game conference rolls around this summer.
Typically, game developers like EA, Microsoft and Sony hold splashy press conferences in the days before the start of E3, the world's largest video game expo. Increasingly, companies have been getting kiddish. Nintendo stopped holding a traditional press conference in 2013; then this year Sony said it wouldn't hold one either. Now EA says it's going to change the format of its big game announcements.
The change underscores how EA is attempting to find new ways to market to fans rather than relying on traditional press and advertising.
One example came last month, when EA surprised the game world with the sudden release of Apex Legends, its newest competitor to Epic's Fortnite last-man-standing game. Typically, EA holds a big event and spends untold millions on print, digital and TV advertising for its big game releases. Apex Legends by comparison didn't have any prerelease marketing beforehand, but it became a sudden breakout hit anyway.
It's a big change from EA's more traditional press conference last year. During that event, the company said it planned to compete with Fortnite by offering its own take on a battle royale mode in its Battlefield 5 World War II-themed shooting game. Other companies, like Activision, also revealed plans for competing with Fortnite, which ultimately were well-received but didn't put much of a dent in Fortnite's popularity.
EA also used its event to build hype for its Anthem online multiplayer shooting game, which was released in February to mixed reviews. Players in the game take control of people who use Iron Man-like suits, called javelines, to fly around and fight evil. The game's been beset with criticism and serious bugs in the weeks following its February launch.