There are dozens of game conventions in the U.S., though none are more popular than E3. Each year, the Electronic Entertainment Expo sees video game publishers and developers taking over Los Angeles for a week to show their latest titles. Thousands of game creators, press, and fans attend the conference each year with hopes to find an audience, a story, and their favorite new game. Thousands of games premiere on the show floor, though only a handful steal the spotlight.
Yet despite being a video game conference attended by gamers and game press, E3 isn’t really for the game playing public. Sure, there are hundreds of game demos on hand and plenty of free swag. Yet the booths, keynotes, and cosplayers all exist for one simple reason: to make investors happy.
Game companies use E3 to gauge consumer sentiment…and peacock in front of investors.
When companies show off games at E3, they do so to create a buzz amongst the gaming community. This, along with game pre-orders, can indicate future sales of a title. By gauging interest and potential sales, game companies could indicate revenue, profit, and other benchmarks for a publicly traded video game company. This would effectively drive investor interest, while keeping existing investors happy with the company’s near-future plans.
E3 is just a way to show off a company’s holiday offerings.
Companies announce video games throughout the year. Major titles like Call of Duty and Madden are announced to the public months before E3 happens. New titles at E3 are announced, live-streamed, and covered by the press, including those set for a release in several years. Yet companies often choose to put the spotlight on their current-year lineup during the holidays.
This includes all the titles to be released before or during the holiday season. After all, publishers and developers make a good chunk of their sales during the last few months of the year, which helps pad their year-end revenue. By showing off already-announced games, publishers keep gamers excited and reminded about games set for release in the coming months, while showing investors what could drive sales.
What should we expect at E3 this year?
Microsoft ($MSFT) is releasing an updated version of their Xbox One console this year, and will show off the new hardware at the expo. Electronic Arts ($EA) will show off their yearly sports titles and licensed Star Wars video games. Activision ($ATVI) will show a playable version of their latest Call of Duty game, Call of Duty WWII, along with Destiny 2. Take Two Interactive’s Rockstar Games ($TTWO) will also show the recently-delayed Red Dead Redemption 2.
Aside from these known announcements, countless other developers will show off titles for a holiday 2017 release and beyond. Sony ($SNE) and Ubisoft ($UBI) often hold spotlight-stealing keynote events along with the companies mentioned above.
Anyone can become a game investor.
Investing in video games isn’t hard. Every major game publisher is listed on the stock market, so if you wanted to buy shares of Activision ($ATVI) or Electronic Arts ($EA), you could. Investing in the entire industry, or every game publisher, is also possible thanks to the $GAMR ETF. This fund lets you own small percentages of every publicly traded game stock. (Read our $GAMR guide to learn more on how this fund works.)
If you want to invest in the highest performers at E3, simply follow the news and fan reactions coming out of the expo. The most popular games during the expo often becoming the hottest-selling games of the holiday season, which could be great for a game company’s revenue. If you buy the stock of a certain game’s publisher now, you could see some sweet gains after they release their much-hyped title in the future.