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Jul 31, 2006



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The ESA should put E3 in SL.

"...it definitely feels like something not of this earth. A place where people wear outlandish costumes, and engage in activities they might not normally try in other places. Some say they hate it, yet keep going back, addict-like."

Sounds like SL to me


I've always wanted to make a first-person shooter level using the LA convention center. I suppose that sounds morbid in these days of terrorist shootings and the like, but after wandering around from West Hall to South Hall to Kentia Hall, etc. in a haze of overloaded senses, it always seemed to me like the perfect setting for a FPS game.

In terms of the overall game community, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Of course we don't really know yet what the "new" E3 will become or how it will be handled (but see today's Penny Arcade and the as-always cogent news post for likely scenarios), but here's my guess at this point: the BigGameCos (EA, Microsoft, Sony, etc.) can afford to host their own press junkets if they want to, and probably for a lot less money, with more focus on just their products (no pesky competition) and thus better results. Some small developers lose out on opportunities to "get a meeting" with a publisher at E3, and that's real loss for many of them. Similarly some mid-level and small publishers will lose out on easy access to a bedazzled press. For both groups E3 represented a "target rich environment" as they say, but OTOH the same opportunities are likely available in serialized form without that gathering.

For other companies, especially MMO developers looking for non-traditional funding and distribution relationships, the loss of E3 is mainly emotional and social -- the meetings here can be held elsewhere, and there are increasing signs of developers moving on beyond the now-traditional (and often draconian) developer-publisher relationship epitomized by the "E3 meeting." OTOH, if nothing else this show was a great time to see all those friends you only see once or twice a year (but hey, there's always the Austin Game Conference in September, where the food is better and the noise level is lower, and for those with an infinite budget, GDC in March).

The real losers in this newly reformulated E3 are likely to be those who would otherwise exhibit in the Hall of the Wheel of Karmic Justice, otherwise known as Kentia Hall. This is where the karmic wheel turns most clearly at the show: new games and tech on the rise and sad ones fading out appear here first and last. Along with many other small companies valiantly manning their booths to sell everything from CD-ROM cleaners to mouse cozies. I'm not sure where these companies will go to get similar exposure -- not GDC or AGC or CES, I don't think. Suddenly their marketing task becomes much more difficult.


(The above was from me, not posting from my normal system.)


All I can say is "It's about time." E3 was such a classless event. While the booth babes were embarassing, what really made me ashamed of the industry was watching the hordes of losers drool over them and have their picture taken. Go to a strip club and take care of that there. Take care of business at E3.

What they ought to do is give exhibitors X free passes where X is a function of how much they're spending. Exhibitors can then give those passes to who they wish: Employees, people they want to take meetings with, etc.

Give media passes out, but raise the bar for getting one.

Then, raise the price to keep out the people who have no compelling reason to be there. Non-exhibiting distributors and publishers can afford to pay the entrance fee for the people who actually need to be there.



Change is afoot in all industries due to consolidation and technology. I think my first E3 was Atlanta in '94. This was the birth of player matching services (TEN, MPath, Engage), the beginning of the end for the arcade and for Mortal Kombat. Back then there were dozens of major publishers not afraid to take risks. Soon, the smaller players were bought up and consolidation ruled the land. Licensed properities and Liesure Suit Larry #23 became the norm. The dozens of small publishers no longer need a place (E3) to meet with retail distributors. Have you ever watched the entire 45 min EA demo reel?

Additionally, online distribution seems to be finally taking hold. The Steam's and GameTap's show great potential while the shelves at Best Buy seem to be drying up. The next E3 to be held in Second Life? Brilliant! Maybe I will finally have something to do in there.


At a trade show where year after year more big hitter booths have been hiding behind a velvet rope (or tour busses and chain link fences in some cases) with a bouncer out front, this not the massive about-face everyone's decrying but merely one step further down the road. I say this is the perfect opportunity for the big publishers to redouble their focus on gladhanding Hollywood and 'The Press'.


Whatever else it is, the remodeling of E3 is a huge blow to quality games journalism. It's also just the latest in a trend where lesser-known and amateur games writers are finding it increasingly difficult to get access. E3 was for many years, in many ways, an equalizer for games reporting. It also offered a sense of membership in the broader videogame community to influential but often amateur games writers. It kept them inspired and made them feel as though they mattered. The danger is, they actually do matter, and shutting them out is unlikely to be good business.


I wouldn't be surprised if they broken up E3 into two concurrent, but separate events.

The larger companies have better upgrade their community brand management programs to make it work effectively though.

This is a logical progression of E3. I'll give them average grade so far on their managing the change with stakeholders.



The game industry is abuzz with information that emerged today about E3. In short, E3 as we know it has perished. No more booth babes, loud noises, massive crowds, or any of the other madness that regularly ensued. For the full press release, head to the Official E3 Website.

In short, some people felt that the glamour and shiny insanity that was E3 was getting out of hand. They made efforts this year to concentrate more on legitimate members of the game industry, but it didn’t do too much to prevent the Average Joe from faking credentials and getting in without much trouble.

Douglas Lowenstein, President of the ESA, had this to say about the reasons for changing formats: “Over the years, it has become clear that we need a more intimate program, including higher quality, more personal dialogue with the worldwide media, developers, retailers and other key industry audiences.”

I have mixed feelings about this change, personally. On the one hand, E3 has always been the rite of passage for people trying to get into the industry in any form. I still remember my first E3, when I worked hard on getting a legit gaming news site up months prior (and worked equally hard on turning 18).

I had reached the promised land of gaming, the coolest place to go for sneak peaks at all the upcoming games and all the latest booth babes. It was an experience I will never forget, and it’s unfortunate that this experience may never be shared by others in the future.

On the other hand–and this is the game developer hand–E3 started to lose its usefulness years ago. Most attendees had nothing to do with the industry apart from being consumers, and they rarely stopped for more than a few seconds at any particular booth unless the game was especially shiny, the booth was especially impressive, or the babes were especially naked.

At Sony Online Entertainment, we run separate events before and after E3 because of this. It’s much easier to personally target media, retailers, etc. if you meet with them on a more personal level when the only thing they are around to look at is your game (or your company’s games).

There’s also the fact that many other more focused industry shows have emerged in recent years. For example, the Austin Game Conference has proven to be a particularly good venue to exhibit online games (mostly because of all the local MMO developers). That’s one that I’m trying to get out to for the first time this year, and possibly even participate in a panel or two if there is one appropriate for me to speak at.

Am I supportive of the change? Well, I suppose so in the end. It will allow developers and related industry folk to accomplish something, and will probably end up cheaper for those companies that used to go all out with booths in the past. Will the format stay? It’s hard to say. It seems like E3 is now attempting to fill in gaps where they don’t exist–the Game Developers Conference combined with targeted press events seems to accomplish exactly what the ESA is setting out to do with E3. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see the old Electronic Entertainment Exposition back in play a few years down the line.

A couple other concerns not addressed in the body:

Will it be harder for the small-time game development companies to actually catch the attention of popular media? You know, the ones that go to Kentia Hall every year and sometimes get discovered.

Will small-time press actually get to go to the event? With the rumors of high prices for tickets, that answer would seem to be “no.” Being someone who used to consider himself small-time press, this worries me.

The original post can be found on my blog, but I figured most people wouldn't feel like following a link.


E3 has been irrelevant as a trade event since publishers stopped writing retail orders at the show. This move is simply an acknowledgment of that fact; there is no reason to spend hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars on a booth and the event when you are in contact with the distributors and retail chains - and writing orders for product - throughout the whole year now, not just once or twice a year.

I'll miss the seminars and panels if they get rid of those, but I won't miss the show floor at all.


I'm sorry to hear that the format will be changing. I never had the right combination of money and time to fly over.

I'm also sorry to hear some of the sentiments posted above. Just because someone isn't a player in the market doesn't mean they aren't interested in the professional aspects of the industry.

And if the booth-babe-loving-losers aren't qualified to be at a serious convention, well fine... but who was bringing the booth babes? If a classier E3 is what you want, it seems a few new ground rules would be more appropriate.

Wanting to focus more on an effective, professional show is understandable, but keeping out everyone who isn't established seems the wrong way to do it. Couldn't the expo be conducted in a way that allowed business to take place without keeping everyone else out?

Like Ryan, it's access and not content I'm concerned about. As for the con being ineffective anyway, I wouldn't know. It seems to me that there would be a place for a convention that allowed the average guy to see the professional side of the industry.

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