Pre-E3 pressers bring the (external) star power
"When you match [our developers] with some of the biggest celebrities in the world, you get nothing less than gaming perfection."
-Joel McHale, introducing Ubisoft's pre-E3 press conference
E3 hasn't even officially started yet, but it's already a star-studded affair.
It started in early and spectacular fashion at Microsoft's press conference, where Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr joining Beatles widows Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison for a quick introduction to The Beatles: Rock Band. By the end of the day's three press conferences (including presentations from EA and Ubisoft), lucky attendess would get to see household names like Tony Hawk, Steven Spielberg, Pete Sampras, Jack Black, James Cameron, Shaun White and PELE hawking games. While celebrities appearing at E3 press conferences is nothing new, the sheer concentration of big names at today's pressers was definitely noteworthy (maybe that's why Mr. McHale noted it, as seen in the quote above).
All this star-power seems like great news for the visibility of the game industry, especially among the general public that doesn't follow the industry too closely. But look at that list of celebrity names again. The worlds of music, movies and sports are all well represented, but there isn't one household name gaming celebrity among the E3 presser presenters so far. Sure, game creators like Hideo Kojima, Peter Molyneux, Ray Muzyka, Greg Zeschuk and Tetsuya Miziguchi drew raucous applause from the crowd of game journalists when they appeared, but none of those developers were able to create mainstream headlines the way the other big names did. With a few exceptions (Shigeru Miyamoto and Will Wright, perhaps) our industry just doesn't seem able to generate the same kind of star power that other areas of entertainment do, routinely.
So while it's nice to see big names from other media lending their voices to the game industry this week, I think I'll be more gratified when the industry itself is big enough to generate more celebrities of its own.