E3 press conferences have come a long way since the show first started.
What were small presentations given to only a few dozen people have evolved into live-streamed multimedia showcases — and E3 2016 is the best example of this evolution yet. Hundreds of thousands of fans tuned in to watch the industry's biggest publishers reveal what they've been working on.
Of course, just because someone's hosting an E3 press conference doesn't means that they know what they're doing. Back when E3 was starting to grow, publishers handed their shows over to big-name celebrities and "comedic talent," only for their showcases to crash and burn.
Thankfully, those days seem to be behind us — but that doesn't mean that this year's conferences went perfectly, either.
Now that E3 2016 has officially closed, it's time to look back and see who had the best press conference of the show. Remember, it's not just about the number of games or surprise reveals — having a show that's actually fun to watch is also a big factor.
So, there's only one question left to ask: which E3 press conference came out on top?
It's obvious that Nintendo is in something of a transitional phase. With the Wii U pretty much dead in the water at this point, the publisher is rethinking its strategies. Part of that included Nintendo's E3 plans, where the traditional Nintendo direct was eschewed in favor of a day-long live stream.
The only problem with this approach is that the stream was unwatchable. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild looks great, but there are only so many times you can watch the same basic demo before it gets old. Between that and the poorly-planned stream itself (it should not take eight minutes to switch between demos), and fans found themselves struggling to make it through the Big N's showcase.
Hopefully, Nintendo will go back to something more traditional next year.
#5: Electronic Arts
Full Recap: EA's E3 2016 Press Conference
To be fair, EA's 2016 press conference wasn't as cringe-worthy as it usually is. Other than that ... well, there's not much else to talk about.
There were highlights, including an extended look at Titanfall 2 and a seriously diminished focus on EA Sports, but most of EA's press conference was either poorly-acted comedic skits or bland trailers. Whether it's Battlefield 1 or FIFA '17, there were plenty of missed opportunities strewn throughout the conference.
The most egregious misstep was the lack of any new information regarding either Mass Effect: Andromeda or EA's various Star Wars titles. The former has been at three separate E3 press conferences now, and the latter had nothing worth showing. At this point, teasers just don't cut it anymore — people want a visual showcase, not another lackluster tease.
Full Recap: Ubisoft's E3 2016 Press Conference
Ubisoft is known for hosting some of the most dramatic E3 press conferences out there, but the quality of said shows tends to swing back and forth from fantastic to abhorrent. Thankfully, the publisher's E3 2016 showing wasn't bad ... but it wasn't all that great, either.
From the opening dance number to the overly-long Eagle Flight demo, there were quite a few snooze-worthy moments throughout the showcase. The Assassin's Creed interview may be the best example: this is a video game conference, and Ubisoft hosted a behind-the-scenes interview with a film direction. It's not that it was bad, but it certainly wasn't the best time, either.
That being said, there was a lot of good in Ubisoft's show: For Honor, Steep, Trials of the Blood Dragon and Ghost Recon: Wildlands all looked fantastic. Hopefully, next year's show can focus exclusively on titles like these ...
Full Recap: Bethesda's E3 2016 Press Conference
Look, it'd be hard for anyone to follow up Bethesda's E3 2015 line-up ... and that includes Bethesda itself.
Without quite as many big-name reveals or extensive demos, Bethesda's show just didn't have that same wow factor this year. E3 2015 featured both a 15-minute Doom demonstration and nearly 40 minutes of Fallout 4 — as previously stated, it'd be hard for anyone to keep up with that sort of roster.
Even so, Bethesda's E3 2016 conference was great: both Quake: Champions and the second attempt at a new Prey made their debut, and the numerous updates across all of its titles proves that Bethesda is committed to supporting its games. Sure, it didn't have quite the same punch as last year's show, but that didn't stop Bethesda from having one of the best conferences of E3 2016.
Full Recap: Microsoft's E3 2016 Press Conference
You just can't beat a new hardware reveal.
It's been rumored for months, but Microsoft finally announced Project Scorpio, a mid-generation upgrade for the Xbox One. Not much in the way of actual info was given, but the announcement certainly helped Microsoft regain some of the momentum it's lost over the past few years. Kicking things off with the Xbox One S certainly didn't hurt, either.
As for the actual games, most of the major notes were hit, and there were more than a few great trailers shown. It wasn't necessarily the most exciting conference, but the promise of Play Anywhere — essentially free cross-platform purchases and multiplayer — was the perfect way to accentuate the long list of games that Microsoft had on offer.
Plus, you can now buy a shiny, custom-made purple Xbox controller!
Full Recap: Sony's E3 2016 Press Conference
Let's ignore the fact that, from a purely statistical standpoint, Sony had more games than anyone else at E3. We can skip the part about the huge PlayStation VR reveal, the reveal of several new exclusives and the return of Hideo Kojima.
More so than any other conference this year, Sony's E3 2016 press conference was a performance. This is a company that was once known for putting on some of the driest, blandest shows in the industry — and this time, Sony's E3 press conference was something that the average person could sit through.
Sony has realized that E3 has changed. The Electronic Entertainment Expo isn't just some industry-only event that only a few people will ever see: hundreds of thousands of people tuned in this year, and Sony is the only publisher that seemed to truly understand that. For that reason alone, Sony's press conference is the king of E3 2016.
... God of War was pretty cool, too.
All in all, E3 2016 was pretty top-notch: regardless of which platform you have, there are plenty of reasons for gamers to be excited this year and beyond!
If you happened to miss any of the above press conferences, don't worry: we've got all of the big reveals and surprise debuts over at our E3 2016 coverage hub!