E3’s PC Gaming Show: From What If to What’s Next?

It started out as a running joke, a sort of annual “what if?” published on PC Gamer.

What if E3 played host to more than the big three console-centric press conferences?

What if PC gaming had its own press conference at the big show?

“We published an article each year,” Evan Lahti, PC Gamer global editor-in-chief recently told Variety. “It was almost like this funny parody idea of imagining what a PC gaming conference would be like.

“We imagined different things like [Valve founder] Gabe Newell riding through dry ice on a unicorn.”

But beneath the veneer of humor was a real wish and over time the annual joking first grew to frustration, and then to action.

“We got tired of that, got frustrated, and started looking at what could bring something like that together,” Lahti said.

In 2015, PC Gamer decided to turn that “what if” into a press conference. The first PC Gaming Show at E3 featured appearances by the likes of “DayZ” creator Dean Hall, “Gears of War” developer Cliff Bleszinski, and a slew of big publishers. It was hosted by Sean “Day[9]” Plott and backed by AMD.

While that first show wasn’t a home run, each year PC Gamer learned from its mistakes, growing, evolving, and improving the show. Last year’s show drew more than 1.8 million unique viewers and became one of the most-watched events of the year’s E3.

This year’s show takes place at the Mayan Theater, is sponsored by Epic Games Store, and promises to include several big announcements from the likes of Annapurna Interactive, Chucklefish, Digital Extremes, and Paradox Interactive.

‘We’ve learned a lot,” Lahti said. “I’ve gained such tremendous respect for the work it takes to put on a show of this nature. It is a tremendous effort to corral so many different people, assets, games, rehearse it, and get our hosts together.”

The nature of PC gaming, and its resurgence in recent years, also seems to be helping with the show’s growth.

Lahti said when they started looking into doing the show they realized that because PC gaming is so fragmented there really is no true owner, “which is an exciting aspect of it,” he said. “It means no one is naturally in place to take the reins of this type of presentation. But we have insight into all of the things taking place on this platform.

“And PC gaming continues to be in this golden age period.”

In building the show this year, the group wanted to try and increase the interaction. They also strive to walk the line between playing host to big-name games and putting the spotlight on indie and niche titles.

“It’s important to show the full scope of gaming, from major gaming to indie modding,” said Lahti. “We’ve had ‘PUBG,’ Microsoft, Square, Oculus. Our focus is to showcase the vibrancy of PC gaming.

“I think it’s wonderful that PC gaming is a bigger subject at E3. With Sony dropping out — for example — there is a greater space for us to fill and more of the conversation is being dominated by PC gaming. There’s plenty to talk about.”

The PC Gaming Show 2019 will take place at The Mayan Theater (1038 S. Hill St. Los Angeles, CA 90015) on June 10 from 10 AM  tp 12 PM PT. PC gamers can attend the event or watch live at twitch.tv/pcgamer, or on YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter.

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