The Death of E3 – For Better or Worse?

| #E3 | #Editorial |

The death of E3 has been predicted for a while by some, but now that it’s happened (And despite their claims of restructuring and refocusing it might as well be dead for most of us) the general consensus is that it was a good thing. I wonder if perhaps they’re missing the point.

Larger publishers like EA were upset about the increasing costs, and businesspeople were upset about the noisy environment, which simply wasn’t conducive to business discussions. Media hated the competition for game trials, and everyone hated the long lines.

Another problem was the increase in spurious admissions, people who weren’t legitimate (or big-time) business pretending they were, with lots of little kids and their little websites having the time of their lives.

So they’ve scaled it back, quieted it down, and moved on. Or, I think, backwards.

E3 is chosing to forget the spectacle, forget the public clamoring for a peek, and dull things down. I don’t know if anyone really noticed, but E3 is a social event, people network and hang out, the revel in the splendor and sympathize with the failure. You can do this at the normal E3 with a couple of quick trips to the quiet zones, or booking time before and after the show. As for playing and reviewing games, you don’t have to get off your ass to do that. Mail a CD or download a demo, and try it out for reals in the comfort of your office.

There is another way.

The Tokyo Game Show is a massive show in Japan that takes the E3 formula and makes it work, with a business day followed by two public days. The first day is much less crowded, considerably quieter, and much real business is accomplished. On the next two days those companies looking to impress the public pull out the stops – the volume knobs are cranked up, the crowds start to form, and the boothbabes start to really wonder if the money’s worth it (yes, yes sweetheart it really is).

If anyone asked me, and I’m sure they won’t, E3 has made the wrong decision. There was It seems now that CES is picking up the slack, and the Tokyo Game Show is getting bigger. E3 thinks the best idea is a show of only 5,000 attendees instead of the 60,000 it used to get. Well, I guess it’s the end for E3.

[ Nov 8 2006 ]

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