For the past few years, conventional wisdom in the videogame industry has dictated that the best way to reach gamers is directly. That's why the tradeshow E3 has long kicked off with the Big Three: Console manufacturers Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo stage massive press conferences, livestream them, and fill social media and YouTube with trailers, promotions, and any and all marketing slogans they've dreamed up.
This year, though, all three publishers hit their respective stages—in the case of Nintendo’s online-only stream, that stage being metaphorical— without much of anything to announce. That conventional wisdom, it seems, has its limitations. In fact, if this year's show tells us anything about the state of the gaming industry, it's that the major gaming press conference might be obsolete.