Geoff Keighley may not be to blame for Summer Game Fest 2024 lacking, but who is?

Tristan Stringer
Geoff Keighley at Summer Game Fest

The current state of the gaming industry has led to Summer Game Fest’s failure to please fans.

The event has left many wanting, with major gaming announcements outside the sphere of indie titles getting the spotlight over highly anticipated games. However, the fault may not fall on host Geoff Keighley, so who’s to blame?

The absence of big first-party video game releases is hard to look past, making them a rare mention within the showcase. Independent gaming teams were given a bigger stage for their projects, which is welcome, although it has left fans who expected we’d learn of a big gaming update feeling let down.

However, there’s a bigger issue that Summer Game Fest is feeling firsthand.

geoff keighley presenting the game awards 2022.

Before Summer Game Fest, Geoff announced that fans shouldn’t be “setting themselves up for failure” with high expectations. This refers to the fact that Kingdom Hearts 4 wouldn’t be at the event as the Steam port release window and website update gave hope of updated news during the event while confirming that many other expected names wouldn’t be involved in the showcase.

This announcement set the tone of the whole event as fans went into it expecting next to nothing and being pleasantly surprised with updates for existing games. As a fan states, replying to Geoff’s call for feedback, “The problem is we wanted BIG announcements from AAA studios. Resident Evil, Pokémon, Judas, Metal Gear, Kingdom Hearts. These are the types of games people wanted to see, hence the disappointment.”

The big announcements were ports, remakes, and DLC

We’re in a dry spell regarding new and original games. Outside of the odd remaster of an old classic game or long-awaited port for another, there’s very little on offer from the big names.

Summer Game Fest gave most of the attention to many indie titles, which is an excellent idea on paper, giving the smaller teams some much-needed attention on a piece of gaming innovation that may be lacking in triple-A titles.

However, with a large gaming event promising news of upcoming releases, it’s a surprise when the Big Three aren’t included in the roster. It can leave the viewers feeling the event is “overhyped” despite Geoff’s intentions.

The big names are doing their own thing

With the loss of E3, live gaming events took a huge hit. It’s rare for platform holders to appear outside of their dedicated events — PlayStation State of Play, Nintendo Direct, and Microsoft Xbox Showcases — or The Game Awards in December.

This means events such as Summer Game Fest now need the draw of big-name guests and developers, instead of the publishers needing the platform to push publicity of their games.

The elephant in the room

In an event dominated by indie titles and announcements, the question is whether there is any significant news on anticipated games worth presenting. A result of layoffs?

Geoff addresses the issue in the gaming industry live on stage. “This has been a tumultuous and difficult year with company layoffs and studio closures which have disappointed all of us,” Keighley said before praising the smaller game developers appearing at the event.

This “dry spell” lets indie games steal the show.

Despite the negative attention, Summer Game Fest attracted more viewers than the previous year. Whether this is from hopeful games expecting big releases or genuine interest in indies from viewers is up for debate. The overall consensus from fans is that Summer Game Fest needs some big names for next year, but whether the Big Three will be interested is another story.