The Trouble With the “PC Gaming Show”

As it turns out, this E3 is going to be the most popular in years. Not only do the “big 3” have conferences this year – that being Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo* – but there are several third party publishers who are joining in on the action. There are the usual suspects, such as EA and Ubisoft. But this year, for the first time ever, both Bethesda Softworks and Square Enix joining the fray. Neither company has ever had an E3 press conference before.

On top of that, there’s one last show. PC Gamer has partnered with AMD (the video card company) in order to put on what they’re calling “The PC Gaming Show”. You can read the post here for more information on the mission statement. The website is here.

My beef with this press conference is not that it’s PC gaming focused. I think that’s great, I play most of my games on PC nowadays. And I love Day[9]. I think he’s really likable and very funny. Definitely one of the best choices as host. My problem is that fact that PC Gamer is one of the sponsors of this.

In a day and age when “ethics” is a huge concern with people, it strikes me as odd that more people aren’t talking about this. It would be like if IGN had announced that they were hosting/putting on one of the E3 conferences.

As a website that writes exclusively about PC games I could see being excited, and definitely reporting on the conference. But to be an active participant in marketing these games? That seems a little odd. This isn’t Nintendo Power or PlayStation Magazine, places where you expect them to be used as marketing tools. It makes me feel a little uncomfortable of the idea of a gaming news site being a part of the something like this.

In a response to a concerned commenter on the page, Evan Lahti said: “Appreciate the concern. Throughout planning this, we’ve maintained the same church/state separation that all of PC Gamer (web, print, etc.) is held to. The editorial team is involved in getting the best stuff possible on stage and creating the identity of the show — we don’t want this to be a pile of marketing — and we’re completely removed from any sponsored stuff, that’s not our job.”

So we’ll have to wait and see I suppose. But the fact that the editorial team is involved at all with the creation of the show is iffy. Either way, I think it’s a bad idea for a site like PC Gamer to be apart of something like this.

To recap and to just make my point one more time, I don’t have a problem with there being a conference that’s focused on PC games. That’s super cool. I just don’t want any of the press involved in its creation.

*Nintendo used to have their own stage conference, but now they just have an online Nintendo Direct.

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