Back to: The 2020 Autoblog Gaming Guide

Why E3 is one of the coolest gaming events you can attend

And why this noob can't wait to get back

If you're a YouTuber who reviews games, consoles, and peripherals, or a Twitch streamer (or are even thinking of starting a stream), you've got to go to E3. You’ll find great networking opportunities, get to demo new releases, make content and attend fun parties over several days in downtown Los Angeles. But even if you're like me and don't self-identify as a gamer, I think this is an event worth attending.

If I had any major gripes with the event it would be that it’s perhaps a little too relegated to the gaming industry. I think there’s a real opportunity to expand and open the event to the general public, as is the case with auto shows and even comic book conventions. It’s hard not to imagine how big the event could become if the casual gamers became a target audience to attend E3. Just think of the cosplay potential!

The 2019 E3 festivities began with an Xbox briefing and showcase at the Microsoft Theatre. Think of this like the Volkswagen Group Night that happens ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Xbox puts on quite a show. There are speeches from executives, game trailers, and special guests (Keanu Reeves was the star of the show this year). When everything wraps, there are game and product demos.

The biggest news from the 2019 Showcase was Xbox’s new console Project Scarlett. It was teased with a some photos and a few insight into specs — including that it will feature a solid state drive — will debut in time for the 2020 holiday season, and launch with a game called Halo Infinite.

During the demo portion of the evening, Xbox showed off a streaming technology Project Xcloud. I had a chance to play Forza on a smartphone that was connected to an Xbox controller. The footage was streaming in 720p but it still looked great, and gameplay didn't lag. No word on when you'll be able to stream your Xbox game catalog to your smartphone, but the capability could be coming soon since Xbox wants to compete with mobile, which continues to disrupt the gaming space.

Xbox also unveiled the LEGO Speed Champions expansion pack for Forza Horizon 4. I got to demo the pack, and found that it looks amazing and is a ton of fun to play. I would 10/10 recommend if you're a fan of Forza or LEGOs, and I hope that they someday release a full LEGO racing game.

The main event took place on Tuesday, June 11. The queue to enter started getting long about an hour before the doors were scheduled to open. Game studios and other industry pros have booths set up in anticipation and the whole thing has the look, and a bit of the feel, of an auto show. It even takes place at the same venue as the LA Auto Show is held toward the end of the year. 

The first thing I did this year was demo Crash Team Racing. It's a fun go-kart-style racing game but, in my opinion, still falls short of Mario Kart.

Sony and Electronic Arts were missing at this year's show, but Nintendo had a presence. There were big displays for Luigi's Mansion 3 and Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games: Tokyo 2020.

I then linked up with Autoblog contributor Carter Jung to walk the show floor. We demoed a $10,000 SIM racing rig from Next Level Racing. A wild experience to be sure, with wild side-to-side sliding generated by the motion platform that had me a bit wobbly-kneed for a few minutes after driving. It was awesome.

Another personal favorite from the E3 2019 was the My Arcade booth full of mini cabinets of some classic video games. I played Bubble Bobble on the cute little 2.75-inch color display found on the company’s Micro Player. These table-top cabinet games retail for $34.99 and are powered by micro-USB or AA batteries.

I'm not sure we'll ever see E3 reach the level of a Comic-Con (about 66,100 people attended E3 2019, according to Gamespot, compared to the over 100,000 who routinely go to SDCC) but it's still an event worth checking out, especially for industry pros. This noob, for one, can’t wait to get back.

For key highlights from E3 2019 check out the video above.

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