Reggie Fils-Aime, the now-retired president of Nintendo of America, has discussed how he feels about E3 going digital this year.
On the topic of digital gaming events, Reggie stated that the ESA’s decision to make E3 2021 digital - which he agrees is the right one - “doesn’t sound all that compelling” to him in a podcast recording with Gamertag Radio.
The video game icon elaborated by proposing that “the platform holders need to find a way digitally to enable their fans, their players to experience the content because that’s the key for E3, right? The ability to be playing The Last of Us Part 3 for the first time, or to play that next Breath of the Wild game for the first time, or to play the next great game coming from the new amalgamation of all of the Xbox Studios.” He continues with “to play for the first time is what’s magical.”
“But what I’ve read, doesn’t go down that path,” he says as he reflects on the ESA’s plans for this year “and if you don’t have all of these different elements working together, so all of the big announcements, the hands-on, the opportunity in a well defined time frame to have all of these announcements. I think that’s what’s key to a successful E3 in the future, and candidly, if the ESA doesn't do it - then other people will.”
This is exactly what fellow gaming industry figure Geoff Keighley did last year in the form of Summer Games Fest 2020. Following on from his last statement, Fils-Aime also added that “Geoff did something provocative last year with his summer of games event, he’s going to do something similar this year.”
When asked if he prefers in-person or digital events, Reggie explained that “I look forward to a day where I can be at an event that I can mingle with fans, other executives [...] I look forward to the day of in person-conferences and events. So much happens in the sidebar conversation, or something that was unplanned, a meal that hastily comes together or a meeting at the hotel bar, these are what are part of what makes those experiences so special and I miss those”
The news that E3 would be a digital-only event this year broke earlier this month. In a statement provided to GamesRadar, the ESA stated that “we can confirm that we are transforming the E3 experience for 2021 and will soon share exact details on how we’re bringing the global video game community together.”
The next E3 will be held around June time and will be the first one since 2019 as E3 2020 cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.