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Not-E3 is Nearly Upon Us – Here’s What We Need

It’s nearly that time of year when – for a week or two – there’s actual game news. And this not-E3 might be the most important yet.


Since the actual E3 died a death, publishers have collectively decided that June is still a good time to share your big marketing push for the coming year and beyond. And while I miss the organisation, pomp and cringe of the proper show, what we’ve got now is still better than the nothing we get for the rest of the year.

I hate to put too much pressure on it, because inevitably that leads to disappointment. Whether we like it or not, gone are the days of shows filled with blockbuster after blockbuster. One shows worth of titles from the early 2010s could fill a generation now and no amount of complaining can change it.

But that’s why this year is so important. The industry is at a crossroads. Now more than ever we need a strong show of what keeps us hooked on video games.

Let’s start with the obvious.

Xbox, Bethesda, Activision and Not-E3

Microsoft are having a bad year. Some would say they’re having a bad generation. The harshest of critics would say they’ve been on a tightrope since about 2010.

The Series X is a tremendous console. There are tens of thousands of talented developers working on games under the Microsoft banner. You have had months to plan for the not-E3 show on June 9, and you get to pick your own script. The nonsense can’t be undone, but you can deliver a conference that makes everything make sense. You can give fans a reason to want to support the brand.

This one really does have pressure on it, because just showing some extended footage of “Fable (coming to PlayStation in 2026)” isn’t going to cut it.

As of right now, the brand feels directionless and weak. Xbox get one shot all year where every eye is on them. Make it count.


When PlayStation built its current identity on Too Huge To Fail blockbusters, it was in a different time. Now they have nothing major coming for the rest of the financial year. Helldivers has been an unexpected and giant success and that’s great news for PlayStation people everywhere. But at a time when original single player blockbusters seem on the chopping block, Sony have nothing to show.

That’s why Sony’s rumoured June show needs to give a hint at what comes next. It can’t just lean on third parties, like some not-E3 shows of the past. What does it mean to be all-in on PlayStation in 2024 and beyond? Does that mean we finally get to see the Astrobot title people have been talking about for a while? Or are there trailers for things coming the end of 2025 that might give us something to look forward to?

A weak showing here won’t be nearly as catastrophic as for Xbox. But Sony want to sell 18m consoles in the next financial year, and they want to do it alongside no blockbuster first party games. Their back catalogue is strong, and a hint at the future might make that easier.

I’d also like to see the leaked changed to PlayStation Plus. When even their old first party games are leaving, you know something is going wrong.


Nintendo have already confirmed that there won’t be any mention of the Switch 2 at their show in June. It’ll be hard to fill that massive gap with anything else. Everybody knows its coming, we all basically know what it’ll be capable of… marketing schedules be damned. Just announce the thing. A quick look will mean people are talking about nothing else by the end of not-E3.

But let’s take them at their word and presume the Switch 2 will not be mentioned. What does that leave?

Say what you want about Nintendo, but they’re really filling the gaps in the late life of the Switch. They could have abandoned it after Tears of the Kingdom and nobody would have blamed them, but we’ve had several relatively big titles since then.

I don’t think we’ll be leaving the Switch behind with a bang. There’s going to be no secret blockbuster waiting in the wings because of the simple reason that the Switch 2 is right there. Why announce anything approaching a Nintendo blockbuster on old hardware where we’re within touching distance of a successor?

And yet there are lots of people still desperate for Nintendo software. Not-E3 will be a great chance to reward them for their loyalty with some smaller, more deep cut type games. Perhaps some more of the Metroid Prime trilogy, that kind of thing.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott