Continuing a theme from 2008 and 2009, Blizzard is not mounting a display at E3 2010, the gaming expo that runs next weekend in Los Angeles. There will be no presence of D3 or WoW:Cat at the show, and if Activision or one of their hardware partners is showing some SC2, I’ve not seen any mention of it. This fact hasn’t entirely trickled down, and as occurred last year, various articles are wrongly stating that Diablo 3 will be displayed at the show. It will not. (Unless someone there like, watches one of the gameplay movies on their laptop.)
Activision will show their games at E3, and Activision/Blizzard will give a, “corporate presentation to analysts” on June 14th from E3, but this event sounds akin to their quarterly conference calls, which include lots of financial news but little to nothing about the games themselves.
There are lots of other games showing @ E3, with essentially every developer other than Blizzard in attendance. Our parent site IncGamers has loads of pre-E3 coverage, and a few of the crew are making the trip over to LA to cover things first hand. Elsewhere, BigDownload has a rundown of the RPGs at E3, including the newly-announced Dungeon Siege 3 (some portions of which will apparently take place on Pandora). D3 and WoW:Cat are not mentioned, for obvious reasons.
Newer fans might not think anything of Blizzard’s absence from E3, but it still seems weird to us old timers, who used to count the days until E3, anticipating a BlizzCon-esque surge of new Blizzard game news, plus an opportunity to get hours of hands-on play time and largely-unrestricted access to the devs. That’s one thing that sucks about BlizzCon; that the developers aren’t just hanging around the play stations, eager to chat with fans/media about the latest build. I spent most of each day at E3 in 1998-2001 standing around the booth, playing the game and talking to the devs, and got to know them and learned so much inside info.
BlizzCon has thousands more play stations and does more to please Blizzard’s fans, but the game devs blend into the crowd incognito or are kept backstage; their appearances limited to panels and interviews.(Some of which are awesome, but it’s a different, more formal vibe working to get in all the questions you can in a 20 minute interview than just standing beside a game station and chatting for a couple of hours.)
Back in 2009, when E3 was beginning to recover from its self-mutilation, Blizzard gave an official reason for not attending; that they were prioritizing game development over publicizing themselves at the show. Left unsaid was the fact that they simply do not need E3, since they gain far more exposure for their games via their own BlizzCon show than they would sharing the stage with hundreds of other games at E3. That rationale has only grown stronger over the past year, given the ever-growing popularity of BlizzCon, and any sort of return to E3 seems unlikely for Blizzard, going forward.