As the game industry fragments, genres splinter along with continuously evolving software and hardware technology, past publishing giants fade and upstarts emerge to dominance, one thing is still clear – E3 is the biggest entertainment spectacle of the year, and the largest single driver of publicity and enthusiasm for the industry.

In 1995 the first E3 was created to serve as a meeting place for the industry to show off new products and gather in the interest of advancing interactive entertainment. Sixteen years later it’s clear that E3 continues to be a thriving showcase for the newest products, technologies and industry trends. In 2011 we definitely saw plenty of surprises – new details on PlayStation’s Vita, Nintendo’s new console, and, of course, brand new titles like Halo 4, Dust 514, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, and many more.

But E3 is about much more than just the games, it’s also about the community. For all the people who work for months to prepare for the show, who stand in a booth for twelve hours at a time, who then stay out all night only to wake up and do it all over again for four days straight, who are the steadfast life blood of this industry that we and millions of consumers hold so dear – E3 is a reminder that our hard work does not go unnoticed.

As long as people use technology to play games E3 will continue to be a yearly milestone for the industry, not only for the spectacle it provides industry insiders and fans, but for the community it engenders. Those who tirelessly labor to ensure a second franchise installment is released on time, or that a patch is delivered with no errors; those who push the industry along one day at a time, not for the money, but out of pure love for games – E3 is still and will always be a critical moment that both compounds and validates the work we dedicate ourselves to.