E3 2019: Immersive Lights, Cameras, Action

I’ve been going to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) ever since the show began. Philips was one of the first exhibitors at E3 and, over the years, we’ve promoted everything there from video games to A-V solutions for gamers to new entertainment formats.

It was at E3 several years ago that some friends from Sony took me to a “must-see, behind-closed-doors” demo with the head of a new start-up, which turned out to be Oculus Rift.

E3 is one of the only shows where you can accurately describe your technology as a game changer … and mean it literally.

E3 has changed a lot over the years, contracting and expanding as it has evolved from an industry-only to an industry-and-consumer show. In the process, it has also become one of the better ways to connect with the gaming audience directly. Today, it’s a platform not only to
connect with media and retailers, but also gamers, celebrity-gamer influencers and the new world of e-sports management.

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This year, it was our turn to demonstrate a game-changer: an immersive home entertainment + smart lighting experience. Philips Hue – a personal, wireless lighting system that puts millions of colors at your fingertips – can now be synchronized with movies, music and games. It has the wow effect of Virtual Reality without the need for glasses and is especially well-suited for games. Explosions radiate off the screen and into your room. Movies become more engrossing and concert videos come alive, as if you’re at the venue. It’s like surround sound for your eyes.

The experience is made possible via a free Mac or PC app called Philips Hue Sync which automatically detects the color scheme on your screen and sends it in real time to the Philips Hue color-capable lighting products in your room … which could be anything from Hue light bulbs to light strips or entertainment-oriented Hue products (wall-washers). And when you’re not using the Hue Sync app, the system serves as cool, programmable everyday lighting for your home.

Over 66,000people attended E3 this year. When something is hot in the gaming world, word spreads quickly and everyone beats a path to your door. For example, lines to see the Pokemon exhibit snaked all around the Nintendo booth, creating a two-hour wait within 10 minutes after the show opened. We, too, experienced a lot of activity in our meeting room, even
though we were off the show floor. People heard what we were demonstrating and made a bee- line to our room.

I’ve done a lot of entertainment technology demos over the years, but this was the first time I heard someone say “Shut up and take my money” before our demo was over. The comment came from an e-sports manager, who later returned with some of his top, professional gamers. It seemed almost a shame to explain that the Hue Sync app is free. It was something you’d never see in the early days of E3: Professional video gamers whose clout in the industry is so strong that they can make or break a new technology with a single Twitch. Then again, live streaming was unheard of in those days … and a Twitch was just a nervous tic.

Marty Gordon is VP of Entertainment Alliances for Philips, part of the company’s corporate partnerships team, and is based in Los Angeles.