Pandemic Axed Our Biggest Nerd Cons, But Birthed Smaller Ones
When the pandemic shut everything down, it took our annual summer nerd extravaganzas of San Diego Comic-Con and E3 with it. The events were cesspools of viral plague enough as it was. COVID was already putting on its bib in anticipation. But from the ashes of our beloved nerd gatherings where highly-anticipated trailers made their world debut and major announcements made crowds cream their cosplay costumes, a series of smaller, more focused online events have risen. They've taken all of the hype and excitement that was usually compressed into a few days and stretched them out to an entire summer, where every week brings with it a new microburst of dorky excitement.
After E3's cancelation, Microsoft and Sony were left adrift to figure out how they were going to set the stage for the upcoming year, which will be among the biggest either companies ever seen as they both have new consoles and slates of games to reveal. They both chose the Nintendo route, which had fled the safe confines of E3 a few years ago to do their own pre-recorded event. Sony showed off a new Miles Morales Spider-Man game and debuted the trailer for the second installment in the Horizon series at the "Future of Gaming" event last week.
They have another one likely sometime in August where they'll likely get into the specifics of the PS5 itself. Microsoft has a supposedly had a similarly enormous event plan, or they're going to debut a second, all-digital version of their new Xbox, along with their game offerings. Nintendo's going to keep doing whatever the hell they want whenever the hell they want, like announcing a new Pokemon Snap this morning with no warning, then mentioning there will be another big Pokemon-related announcement next week.
Warner Bros. doesn't have ComiCon as a grand stage to announce DC movie news and no E3 to finally (maybe) officially announce their long-rumored Batman and (possibly) a Suicide Squad game, so they said screw it, we're putting on our own con. On August 22, they're launching a 24-hour virtual DC showcase called FanDome as a showcase for the slate of DC stuff they would have shown off elsewhere.
Even the smaller but still formidable video game convention PAX West announced they're going all digital. That highlights the failures and laziness of the bigger cons that chose to cancel outright rather than adapt. Star Wars Celebration can be lumped into that group with Comic-Con and E3. The annual Star Wars wankfest is really just a series of panels that could have easily been done over a Zoom call where everyone has Jar Jar as their background image.
It makes sense if a small business with limited resources can't afford to adapt. It's inexcusable for an E3 or a Comic-Con to do the same when they have comparatively unlimited resources behind them to figure out how to launch a conference call with the cast of Doom Patrol.
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Top Image: Warner Bros./DC Comics, Sony