E3 Wrap-Up: Devolver Digital’s press conference is a breath of fresh air

The first rule of marketing is focus on your audience. Know your buyer, and direct your marketing towards those you expect will buy your product. Simple, right? So why did only one presentation at E3 2018 seem to take this creed to heart?

extra-life_the_splintering_adNearly every presentation and press conference at E3 2018 was bogged down by focus tested language and corporate PR speak. Bethesda’s show ground to a halt for an on-stage musical performance. Sony surpassed that ridiculous benchmark with two musical performances of their own. Xbox decided that announcements of studio acquisitions were applause lines, while the gaming press decided that EA’s backing away from exploitative business practices was deserving of applause, too.

Meanwhile, game publisher Devolver Digital did something that the game industry desperately needs: it lampooned the shit out of us… all of us. Once again, fake Devolver executive Nina Struthers returned from her E3 2017 appearance, hilariously performed by actress Mahria Zook. Not every joke landed, but most of them did, and it was clear from the get-go that Devolver knows their audience, and that they had a pretty good idea of how many of us feel about the hollow, saccharine presentations that E3 typically offers. They didn’t let gamers themselves off the hook either, reminding us all that some of the very worst business practices only exist because we keep buying into them. We’ve clearly made it easy after years of the gaming industry transforming itself into something quite mock-worthy. All Devolver had to do was hold up a mirror.

My Friend Pedro_screenshot_devlover digital_e3_the splintering

“My Friend Pedro” looks like a bloody good time

But Devolver also brought the goods. As a smaller publisher, they didn’t have much to show, but what they did show managed to impress. The action platformer My Friend Pedro was my personal favorite game of any show this year, and Devolver’s reveal of cult favorite Wolf Metal Chaos XD was well-received by long-time fans.

I can already hear those of you out there telling me that E3 is an industry trade show first, and a consumer show second. And you know what? You’re right. I don’t expect every press conference to be exactly like Devolver’s. God knows that steering Nintendo towards anything that isn’t ready-made for prime time Disney Channel would be a miracle in current year. It’s just nice to know that there is at least one publisher at E3 who doesn’t focus on appeasing shareholders or pandering to the gaming press, but instead they let loose and have some fun at all of our expense. It felt soooo good. Besides, we all needed a good laugh after that pitiful EA conference, anyway.

If you still haven’t watched Devolver’s press conference from E3 2018, check a look below.

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