As if it wasn’t bad enough that Activision Blizzard and Electronics Arts, two of the largest game publishers in the world, have decided to skip E3 2016, now Disney Interactive and Wargaming are doing the same, and more publishers may end up following suit before the trade show begins on June 14th. One of the biggest reasons for this is the growing popularity of live-streaming, because not only is it much cheaper than renting a booth at an in-person trade show, it allows companies to launch or tease new products in a way that’s more accessible and more engaging for consumers. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that more and more game companies are choosing to cut out the middle man and interact with their customers directly.
Two more big-name publishers are backing out of a presence on the E3 2016 show floor. Disney Interactive and Wargaming have elected to drop their booths at this year’s expo. GamesBeat reported the exits, along with statements from the Entertainment Software Association, which runs the annual event. “We have a record number of press briefings this year in the ramp to opening the show,” ESA Senior Vice President of Communications Rich Taylor said. “That’s an indicator that folks recognize how valuable a launch pad” E3 is. A representative for Wargaming provided the following statement to IGN: “From a company perspective, we’re focusing a large majority of activities on events focused on our players and community. Whether it’s a small group of players or hundreds at one of our player gatherings, they’re our main priority. From a strictly business perspective, E3 just doesn’t fit our current direction. It’s a show that is very centralized on retail product, and as a free-to-play digital download gaming company, we’ve realized that while the show may be a good fit for lots of other publishers and developers, it’s currently not a great fit for us. And, of course, we appreciate all that the ESA does in their legislative efforts and their work to raise and discuss issues surrounding video gaming as an industry, hobby and way of life.” On Twitter, Disney VP of production John Vignocchi said, “We’re focused on different activations throughout the year that allow us to engage directly with our fans and community.”