5) Electronic Arts
After making a conscious decision to skip the show floor, Electronic Arts forged new territory with its EA Play event, where fans could gain access to and check out demos of some of the company’s most anticipated games. From Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1, to Madden NFL 17 and FIFA 17, there was no shortage of early blockbuster gaming to be found, and the lines reflected that.
As is normally the case, early registration for EA’s press conference was provided to press within one to two months of the actual conference, which, itself, took place at the same venue as EA Play. I was able to sign up, provide my credentials and guarantee myself a spot in the presser’s audience, while my colleague (Shaan Joshi) was placed on the waiting list. Keep in mind that this was all done early, and that everything pointed to smooth sailing going forward.
Following an early morning flight into Los Angeles, I rushed to Club Nokia and got in line with Shaan. There, we waited for an hour, registered ourselves and were then told that we’d surely be good to go, even though one of us had merely been wait listed. That wasn’t the case, though, as Electronic Arts’ scheduling and planning skills failed them and led to my early confirmation being worthless.
Despite waiting for over an hour, and being given a blue placard that designated me as a confirmed (press) invitee, I was denied access to the show along with several others from somewhat large outlets. Why? The reasoning we were given belonged to oversubscription, as it was said that EA had invited too many people and had allowed far too many bodies to pre-register and pre-confirm. Apparently the fire marshall had called them on it, and had told them to avoid letting anyone else into the building. Needless to say, we were more than frustrated, after not only waiting, but also rushing to the event in order to lin
Following the clusterfuck that was all of this, we requested the chance to still get in on our confirmed post-press conference demo session. That is, the session in which all attendees would be allowed to play the games before the public. It took a bit, but that access was verbally granted, and we were told to wait in another line. However, after waiting for quite some time, nothing came to fruition and we simply gave up.
It was truly frustrating and rather disappointing overall. I’d been looking forward to attending my first EA press conference, and was honestly feeling under the weather the whole time I waited, which made for a rather shitty experience.
As for the actual press conference? Well, by all accounts, it was nothing to write home about and disappointing as a whole. Watching recaps gives me the same feel, as did reading along with a text-based update stream that covered all announcements; many of which were either predictable or underwhelming.
EA had the opportunity to do something great this year, and did have some success with its EA Play model once it got into the groove of things. However, its press conference was a giant organizational mess, a frustrating experience and a disappointment overall.