This year’s E3 was the first since Microsoft’s leap into console gaming that the Xbox didn’t have its own booth on the show floor, instead Microsoft and its console were across the street from the show at the Microsoft Theater. In its place was a booth for Microsoft’s video streaming service Mixer along with a two PC hardware partners: Dell and Lenovo.
Both companies announced new Windows 10 gaming computers at the show. While Dell and its gaming-centric Alienware brand has been at E3 in the past, this was a first for Lenovo instigated in part by a change in the way the company views E3.
“E3 has been the main trade event for the video game industry since the 90’s and over time has grown in stature and size,” a Lenovo spokesperson told Variety. “Now the show has become a mega event and a place where gaming hardware, game titles and just about anything else related to video games is unveiled.”
It also helps that PC gaming has seen a surge in popularity over the past few years. Market researcher Digi-Capital expects PC games hardware sales to hit between $30 billion and $35 billion this year alone.
Microsoft’s Blake Mitchell adds that Microsoft is seeing a lot of barriers breaking down between console and PC gaming lately.
That’s in part, the company believes, due to Microsoft’s own gaming support in Windows 10 which includes features like Play Anywhere initiative that allows a person to purchase specific games on Xbox or PC and then play on whichever system they prefer.
Another major factor, according to the company, is the partner system Microsoft has with PC manufacturers like Lenovo, Dell and others.
As part of its collaboration with Microsoft, Lenovo announced a slew of new Legion gaming PCs. The computers announced included two new laptops packed with high-end displays, backlit keyboards and solid graphics options, as well as four desktops, ranging from full tower to frag box.
Dell brought a mix of computers and gaming peripherals to the show including a new gaming mouse and headset.
Lenovo said that in creating its latest Legion line of gaming computers it conducted focus groups with “hundreds of gamers around the world” to evaluate design concepts.
“We’re actively engaging a growing community of gamers that include Stream team members, Twitch and YouTube influencers, esports players and customers,” the spokesperson said. Even the Legion sub-brand name came from the company’s fan base.
The decision to show at E3 was also driven by the community.
“Listening to gamers, integrating their feedback and anticipating their needs are a big part of what drives our customer-centric innovation,” the spokesperson said. “To do this we have to be committed to engaging with the community and showing up where they are, and what better place than E3?”