I’m in Los Angeles attending my 16th Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3. Would you believe I attended my first show at the age of 6? Anyway, Double Forte manages public relations and media credentialing for the show, and has for the last five years, giving us an insider’s view of who’s here, what’s hot and what changes each year.

Many things remain the same year over year: big production press conferences, new games, virtual reality, suspended reality (you should see some of the characters here), more press conferences and parties…and parties. But something’s different about the event this year.

This year we credentialed more YouTubers than ever before. And already we’re feeling the effects. Last year at this time just over one thousand videos were posted to YouTube. This year that number as I type this just went over 900,000…and it’s climbing.

There is no denying the ever-growing importance of social media as both an amplification tool and message delivery mechanism. In addition to the spike in videos, E3 has received more than double the number of tweets year over year so far (and the show hasn’t started!), and Instagram posts are steady. And so far there are 24 million views on the official E3 livestream at twitch.tv/team/e3! (again, the show hasn’t started!)

And just when you think social is the be all to end all, these trends wouldn’t be happening if the industry wasn’t all here at a trade event (no consumers allowed) focused on games, games and more games. Without a doubt these numbers show the importance of in-person, face-to-face, mask-to-mask, sound system to sound system experiences. So many of these videos are from people and companies already here, but a huge number are from people who wish they could make the trip to E3.

Gamers want their information and they want it fast and unfiltered. They’re not relying solely on traditional influencers like media and analysts – although those players still serve a vital role defining news, deciphering trends, analyzing information and providing perspective. But they are joined by a whole new army of arbiters whose opinions matter and are fueled by likes, RTs and shares.

It’s time to rethink outdated definitions of influence, impact and editorial. The future of marketing is upon us and it’s on display in LA this week.

  • Lee