CNET Senior Editor Scott Stein has attended a decade’s worth of E3s and closely monitored the ones he couldn’t make in person. Here are his highlights of E3 2017, featuring trends with major implications for the place we’ve traditionally discovered our most kick-ass gaming.

Everybody In. This was the year E3 opened itself up to fans. Stein was both excited and a bit concerned, as E3 in the past was “already pushing capacity” and generally “insane.” Yet while the number of people increased, something else was in decline…

It’s No Longer the Be-All and End-All of Announcements. “It used to be you’d get your whole year’s lineup at one show,” Stein recalls. Now there are “so many events throughout the year and also livestreaming.” The result is companies may spread out the news at different events or just…

Take It Straight to the People. “A lot of things are going direct to the public,” Stein observes. “Between eSports and livestreaming, people are creating their own channels.” This “vibrant community for lots of gamers” understandably makes “publishers want to develop a direct relationship with them.” Indeed, we may see…

E3 Undergoing Some Serious Self-Evaluation. “E3 needs to justify its existence,” Stein says. This doesn’t mean it’s on the verge of vanishing, of course, but with fans arriving just as some of the industry backs away, there’s a chance it will head in the direction of being a more tech-heavy Comic-Con. Speaking of technology…

This Year Saw a Lot Less Buzz About VR. Understand: VR isn’t going away, but it’s worth putting in perspective. Sony announced at E3 they’ve sold over 60.4 million PS4s around the world. By contrast, Stein notes Sony has posted sales of ”roughly a million PlayStation VRs.” Quite simply, people know it’s going to take a while to really understand how to use VR for games effectively. (Hey, even years after the overwhelming success of Avatar, 3D ain’t replacing 2D cinema any time soon.) Similarly, people struggled to…

Make Sense of Microsoft’s Xbox One X. Stein says that Microsoft is touting it as the “new powerhouse.” (Indeed, Bill Gates’ boys call it the “world’s most powerful gaming console.”) Yet the early responses to it tend to be along the lines of “Xbox One X doesn’t quite bring the ‘wow!’ factor.” Stein sums it up: “They have to figure out exactly what they’re going to do with this thing.” Scheduled for release on November 7 and costing $499, you can see it below.