You can imagine the dilemma occurring to the event organiser for any prominent gaming company: they have a packed house of waiting fans, journalists and sceptics, do they send out someone who knows the game but has no speaking skills or a presenter with no technical knowledge?
Often times that choice is made poorly. You only need to look at some of the copious examples of oh-so awkward E3 presentations on YouTube to see that. Middle-aged men trying to use new-age language and slang (“all the feels”) and ‘get down with the kids’ with the same sort of panache that you’d expect from a drunken uncle at a wedding.
I’ve visited a number of business technology expos and conferences to date and I can safely say that, aside from a few notable exceptions, they’re a far more professional and less awkward affair. Perhaps it’s an audience thing: gaming is still in a tug-of-war between its childish roots and its newfound adult and artistic leanings. Then again, it’s probably difficult to remain straight-faced and business-like when you’re talking about a new DOOM game.
There are a few notable exceptions to the rule. Peter Molyneux, despite never really delivering on his promises, manages to mix that sense of enthusiasm and information perfectly. Todd Howard of Bethesda is another who manages to remain calm and yet also exude a sense of excitement.
It seems, though, that as companies try their best to find an angle with which to beat their competitors, rather than actually making better games, we’ll see more examples of laser-tag fights, acrobatics and shoddy magic tricks.