EA isn’t particularly known for delivering good E3 press conferences, and this year wasn’t any different. Outside of A Way Out there were no big surprises, and outside of Star Wars Battlefront 2 the list of upcoming games are just about what you’d expect.
But that wasn’t the main problem. The real problem was that EA tried way too hard to resonate with a plethora of varying demographics.
This was demonstrated by its move to hire a wide cast of personalities. As in the past, most of these personalities had little to do with gaming, making many gamers wonder who they were listening to in the first place.
One of these personalities was Jesse Wellens, a popular YouTuber who is best known for his prank videos. Although he has almost nothing to do with gaming, that didn’t keep EA away from hiring him for a chunk of cash.
Wellens had a tough time on stage, there’s no doubt about it. We’re not going to sit here and laugh at him, as stage fright is something we’re all afraid of. However, we can’t help but wonder why EA hired someone who isn’t a developer or hardcore gamer to come in and introduce one of its most important games for Fall 2017: Need for Speed Payback.
Seen above, the disaster made a lot of viewers cringe, and a small portion tune out and never return. I know I had to turn away to avoid combusting into flames.
Even if he didn’t fumble his introduction, the lines that were written were not the sort of thing that resonates with racing game fans. Here’s a pro tip: keep things simple, highlight the big talking points with a couple sentences each, and then show us what these game elements look like in-game with as little fluff as possible.
Wellens has been a good sport about it on Twitter, going as far as saying that “I’m way happier I fu***d up. Its so funny! Im crying”. Even then, we can’t help but wonder why thousands of other YouTube content creators who could probably speak about Need for Speed without a teleprompter weren’t brought in instead.
And the Men in Blazers? Yeah, they didn’t do much to hype up the audience about sports games, especially with that seemingly force missed high five.
Energy is only half the battle. Gamers can tell if hosts are into the things they are talking about. That’s why when Josef Fares, writer and director for A Way Out, forgot what to say in the middle of his presentation (video @1:00:08), it came across as genuine and we forgot all about it a few seconds later.
It’s not easy putting on a show that has millions of viewers, there’s no doubt about it. But EA continually finds a way to deliver visually impressive shows that have the substance of a concrete barrier. EA has some big games, and we know it can do better.