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The End of E3? 164

Ground Glass writes "Next Generation is reporting that E3 as we know it is finished. The games industry has lost its most glamorous show." Update: 07/30 21:18 GMT by Z : A reader wrote in with a link to an Ars Technica story saying that the event is to be downsized, not cancelled. From that article: "At the end of the day, the reason is very simple: ten years ago, you needed a big trade show to generate buzz and hype. It used to be that COMDEX was a special event because so much new stuff was unveiled, and this was the only way to see it. Now, however, information comes down the pipe faster than ever, and companies are wondering if there's really any benefit to spending the big money on displays only to share the floor with other competitors looking to out-wow attendees." I guess we'll see in a day or two what the future of E3 looks like.
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The End of E3?

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  • PAX to fill void? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aapold ( 753705 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @03:26PM (#15812626) Homepage Journal
    Wonder if PAX could sort of by default become the big gaming convention...

    PAX [pennyarcadeexpo.com]
    • PAX's space isn't nearly big enough; just trying to turn it in to such would kill it too.
      • Re:PAX to fill void? (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Actually PAX should be moving to a larger space next year.

        Oh, and by the way, last year Nintendo brought their E3 kit to PAX.
    • Re:PAX to fill void? (Score:4, Informative)

      by badboy_tw2002 ( 524611 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @03:37PM (#15812693)
      Remember, E3 is NOT supposed to be a convention. Its a PRESS event. GDC is a convention. It has "convention" in the name even. The general public is not invited, though generally anyone who wanted to go could get in. I've always thought its a pretty terrible event and generally not a good face for the industry as a whole. Most of the real stuff happens behind closed doors, and a lot of the big publishers have their own press days anyways. The real losers here are the small developers or hardware manufacturers (yay Kentia Hall) who are trying to a) get exposure, b) get funding. The indy show at GDC doesn't really fit the role unfortunately, but it tries. I think what's really needed is a serious event for indie developers where both publishers and press attend without some dufus walking around in elf armor.
      • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @03:50PM (#15812757) Homepage
        ...I was just broke and couldn't attend. It was called the Texas Independent Games Development Conference [txindiegamecon.com] and it had all kinds of people that were sponsoring the thing- according to the promoters, it was a stunning success and they're doing it again next year (And I HOPE to be able to attend the next time...). It was intended for Texas indie studios for the large part, but it's a good start in the right direction- and I don't think we need to see something like GDC or E3 (GDC's good for meeting up with the tech companies supplying the resources to make the games happen and seeing the people face- but if it were to shrink or go away, it'd only be mildly annoying. E3, on the other hand... That was a massive resource sink, in all honesty- it may be that it is its time to go.)
      • The C stands for "conference" not "convention".
      • "It has "convention" in the name even."

        That 'C' would be for Conference. But close enough.
      • by JorDan Clock ( 664877 ) <jordanclock@gmail.com> on Sunday July 30, 2006 @05:07PM (#15813141)
        Actually, the "C" is for "Cookie," which is good enough for me. P.S. This is a joke on the other replies...
      • by adam31 ( 817930 )

        Remember, E3 is NOT supposed to be a convention. Its a PRESS event.

        Exactly. And this is a huge smackdown of the gaming press. This is the big publishers saying very simply "We don't need to impress you. It's much cheaper to buy you." And it's true! Publishers that spent huge $$$ on E3 can instead spawn publicity that times with game releases much better. They don't have to waste time on demos of half-finished games that will be shown side-by-side to titles almost ready to ship.

        Or they can go dire

      • exactly... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @10:46PM (#15814649)
        That is the biggest problem with E3 right now. It's full of gamers. The fact that the GP thought PAX would be the replacement for it shows how off track it is.

        I know that sounds stupid, but hear me out.

        The cost to the exhibitors (Sony, MS, EA, etc.) of putting on E3 is huge. They spend far too much money to piss it away on gamers who will only sway themselves and 2 friends. The show was originally envisioned to be attended by buyers and other high ups, whom if you convinced of buying/distributing your game would result in thousands of sales.

        If an attendee is going to deliver 1,000 sales, you can afford to spend up to $50-$100 on them. If an attendee is going to deliver 2 sales, you can only afford to spend $0.10.

        Companies are paying per sq/foot charges and booth construction and design charges more in line with the 1,000 sale attendee, but the show is full of 2 sale attendees.

        You could see this with the Thursday this year where only conference ($1,000 fee) attendees could enter before noon. You could also see it with the prohibition of retail associates (Gamestop mall employees) from attending without special permission this year.

        E3 probably needs to change to keep the riff raff out if it wishes to survive in its current form.

        On the other hand, there is a void in shows for the actual gamer. These can be made to work, with the proper cost structure. I wouldn't be surprised to see the ESA (people who put on E3) create a gamers convention or at least associate themselves with one. These shows work well in Japan, and PAX is off to a good start in the US. Many of the larger exhibitors will likely welcome a show of this sort, whereas the people with under development games would rather have a true industry only press event/trade show.

        E3 sure has changed a lot. The action truly did used to be in the back rooms. That's where you had to go to see Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors back in the day.
    • Or perhaps the GC [gamesconvention.de] could take that role?
  • by Lave ( 958216 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @03:26PM (#15812629)
    Hmmmm, Should I say it? Hmmmm,

    Do I dare?

    So.... these rumours, I think, that maybe, the "big-player." Pulling out. Could be.

    Based on no evidence other than historical battles, giant crabs and real time weapon change


    Too much public MASSIVE DAMAGE? It pretty much provided a focus point for the interweb community (aka early adopters) to turn against them. Maybe they don't want anymore showcases where they have to say words like "six hundred and ninety nine united states dollars" to the world anymore - when a press release would be nicer.

    *runs and hides*

    • Redundant? Hmm, ok. I thought it was a fair point - but maybe it was more obvious than I thought. Bad me.

      Anyway just correcting my post that should be $599. Sony aren't that mad.

    • Maybe they don't want anymore showcases where they have to say words like "six hundred and ninety nine united states dollars" to the world anymore - when a press release would be nicer.

      Marketing managed to confuse you with that 99 crap, it's 599 (or 600 as sane people say), not 699.
    • by ichigo 2.0 ( 900288 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:11PM (#15812858)
      Here's the funny vid [youtube.com] he is referring to for those 40% that modded him troll. I liked the "innovative gameplay" and "realtime weapon change" myself. 30% Redundant? Maybe. All this sony bashing is starting to sound redundant.
    • Too much public MASSIVE DAMAGE? It pretty much provided a focus point for the interweb community (aka early adopters) to turn against them. Maybe they don't want anymore showcases where they have to say words like "six hundred and ninety nine united states dollars" to the world anymore - when a press release would be nicer.

      Or they will just focus on the Tokyo Game Show, which provides a similar spotlight, but on friendlier turf.
  • For this generation of consoles... esp. given that E3 is where a lot of the big annoucements are made, and hype generated (or lost)..
    • by intrico ( 100334 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @03:54PM (#15812779) Homepage
      But you can argue that such venues for making announcements, have become irrelevant in this era of multimedia web content. All a Major Industry Company has to do is make press releases that get published on all of the major gaming and tech/new sites and reach a lot more people, much more quickly and efficiently with their big announcements. I think it's realistic to say that the web generates the vast majority of hype for pretty much all things tech nowadays. I'm sure if some sort of measurement was done, you would find that the number of game players that actually go to E3 is probably miniscule in comparison to those that surf the gaming/tech news sites.
      • I think you're right on the money here. While the week of E3 is obviously big in terms of the amount of game information, screenshots, etc. released, the number of people who actually get hands-on with the stuff at the convention is rather small. With the continued increase of non-industry people attending, it becomes an even worse deal with the "important" people (read: the representatives of the big gaming news outlets and the retail executives who might influence what gets put on store shelves) either
    • I don't think it's going to be particularily visually interesting untill E11R6.
    • Hype? I never heard of E3 before. E3 as an shortcut of EEE whatever that stands for?

      And I don't know ESA. Ehmm, wrong. European Space Agency == ESA. And Microsoft created the European Software Alliance (ESA) in order to look more European in lobbying, yet another hat for consultations [europa.eu].

      So it is rather surprising to me. 'The End of E3', sorry. Does it make a difference? Will I have to miss E3 I just learned about? Will my children ask me about the good old days of E3?
  • by RomSteady ( 533144 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @03:30PM (#15812655) Homepage Journal
    Given the amount of money spent trying to get E3 builds ready, stabilize those builds, then strip out the hacks so that people can get back to work, this may actually be a good thing.

    If I have to choose between E3 and essentially getting an extra month of productivity a year...farewell, E3, I barely knew ye.
    • What idiot whould put in "hacks" and have to strip them out before begining real work again? You can make copies of a source tree. Fork the code, get it ready for E3, and keep the untouched code in the main development cycle.
      • "What idiot whould put in "hacks" and have to strip them out before begining real work again?"

        The kind of idiot who is being paid (By the publisher or otherwise) to do it.

        "keep the untouched code in the main development cycle."

        And who is continuing the "Main development cycle"? The E3 build takes every person in the office throwing everything they got at it, or you wont have a good showing. So what is the point of a fork? I suppose you could roll back, but some of the content from E3 builds may stay in t
      • What idiot whould put in "hacks" and have to strip them out before begining real work again? You can make copies of a source tree. Fork the code, get it ready for E3, and keep the untouched code in the main development cycle.

        Dropping the fork counts as "stripping out" and of course there will be work done in the E3 build that is decent and needs to be merged back to the trunk. Choose your poison, I would not be surprised at all if it is easier to continue the fork. Side note: maybe you should consider not
        • I understand the concept quite well, and reverting to an earlier fork in no way counts as "stripping out". If there's valuable code in the new branch, it can be added back to the stable codebase (which is a merge in, not stripping out anything). If the code is properly modularized, then this shouldn't be too big of an issue.
      • If it weren't for the galvanizing effect of E3, I doubt many games would get finished. First you build a demo for a publisher. Then you make some progress, polish that up, and call it an E3 Demo. Then you slam a lot more content into it, make some last minute additions / polish, and release it to the public.

        If it weren't for E3, way too much of the development cycle would take place pie-in-the-sky.

    • A lot of companies want the work to go on as long as possible before forking to reduce integration downtime afterwards.

      While a pure branch with regular merge-ins from the main tree is ideal, there are many times where it can be impractical.
    • Actually, the way I see it, E3 can provide valuable feedback on games that are still in development.

      Look at Red Steel for the Wii: Nearly everyone who played it was quite vocal about the game's flaws, so they went back to the drawing board to re-work it.
  • by FlyByPC ( 841016 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @03:30PM (#15812656) Homepage
    When you go and ban booth babes [ign.com], what's the point of going to E3, anyway?
  • E3 represented everything that was wrong about the games industry. The hype. The focus on graphics. The sexualisation. The sequelisation. The CG sell. The marketers.

    Playing a video game can be a serene repose from the world, not unlike a quiet read of a good book. But you'd never gather than from the Festival of the Casual Gamer that was E3. There games are presented like six-packs and waxed over automobiles. E3 was like an arms or car show. Games deserve better.
    • Re:Good Riddance (Score:3, Interesting)

      E3 represented everything that was wrong about the games industry.

      Playing a video game can be a serene repose from the world, not unlike a quiet read of a good book.

      And you'll notice just how popular novels have become compared to videogames in terms of mass market. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard people say, "Why must kids waste their time on novels. If only we could get them to embrace videogames in the same way!"

      Don't get me wrong: I love books and my wife's a writer. That doesn't chang
      • Your wife, Squire . . . is she a writer? Nudgenudge winkwink!
      • That doesn't change the simple fact that people vote with their wallets and videogames as they stand, however much elitist views may wish otherwise, are dramatically more popular with the average young person than books are right now.

        It's not just the young people. It's the middlemen.

        In the absolute best-case situation, your wife's novel will sell at $35 for about eighteen months. Most of that cost is going to be in distribution and manufacture. Some of it will go to the, perhaps, 10 people who edited it
      • Halo 17?

        Hum. Considering the Bungie guys intend the FPS games as a trilogy (tough we'll probably have some sort of RTS game or MMORPGish game someday). If I wanted to express sequellitis, I would mention a game series that's actually not too far from there, Final Fantasy, now 13 and counting, not counting the Game Boy games and other derivative games that bear no ressemblance to the Final Fantasy mythos or gameplay except for the name and chocobos.
    • E3 represented everything that was wrong about the games industry. The hype. The focus on graphics. The sexualisation. The sequelisation. The CG sell. The marketers.

      Wait, I thought you said it represented the bad things?
    • Why do you consider sexualisation wrong? Sex is what defines us humans, above all. It is really weird to deny the most foundamental human characteristic.
  • by Suddenly_Dead ( 656421 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @03:35PM (#15812683)
    http://www.gamespot.com/news/6154897.html [gamespot.com]

    Well, there goes that.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's all economics. If large exhibitors think that it's too expensive, E3 could charge less per square-foot of show floor ($x/sq.ft.), and compensate with a higher attendance fee ($y/visitor). Surely there are some values of x and y that make the show viable.
    • Are you kidding me? It's already ridiculously expensive to get in. No, E3 has always been a big self-centered circle jerk for the game industry and media. I won't be at all sad to see it go and be replaced with something more gamer-oriented. The "gaming media" is a joke, and doesn't need a special event in their honor.
      • I too feel that a gamer-oriented convention would do much more good for the industry. Gaming is now enough of a part of American culture that one can reasonably market directly to the consumer instead of feeding a bunch of talentless hack writers who probably should've failed first-year English.

        The thing is that most gamers don't *read* game rags like PCG or Gamespot or IGN. That media is strictly for the enthusiast. Most gamers see nice shiny explosions during the commercial break in between segments of

    • The cost of the actual space on the convention floor is probably a tiny consideration to the big developers/publishers. It's often the cost of the "spectacle" that the marketing people feel they need which costs a lot. There's also lost time to developers when they have to put together playable demos of games that might still be two or more years from completion.

      Increasing the cost to attendees would end up a losing proposition because you'd end up decreasing the number of press and retail people who wou
  • From most of the game news I read I've always been under the impression that most of the actual media coverage comes from the exclusive back room presentations/demos along with keynote types and private interviews. For the past few years it seems like E3 has been getting bigger and bigger while yielding less and less real media coverage (coverage of stuff being presented rather than on the convention itself). Is it really surprising that the companies spending a ton of money on huge booths and rediculous di
  • All the hype E3 generates is pretty stressful, I'm still getting over this year's event.

    There are other ways that games can be displayed that don't create a hype explosion.
    • The ESA just made CMP order a case of Dom Perignon. It is high-fives and giggles in San Francisco today.

      If the plan is to downsize it to meeting rooms and developers and a few members of the press, why bloody bother?

      That gig already exists - it's called GDC and it's growing strong. If E3 gets cancelled, GDC will begin its inexorable rise and before you know it - GDC won't look like GDC at all anymore. They'll leave that for their semi-monthly "Serious Games Summits" and they'll be right back in the Bling-Bl
      • ...has been having more and more gaming content as time goes on. With E3 "retooling" Comic-Con may get more and more important for consumer-directed news about games. Unfortunately this year Nintendo focused on DS and DS Lite and didn't bring the Wii kit. I predict this will change.
  • by Agrippa ( 111029 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @03:51PM (#15812763)
    E3 has been going downhill for a while. Back in 1999 I found 2 days worth of stuff to do. In 2005 I found about 2 hours. Booths are now packed with demo reels instead of hands on play, booth babes have been outlawed, no one gives a shit about you unless you are press, and waiting 2 hours to get into an exclusive area to spend 5 minutes watching a trailer or looking at some new molded plastic isn't my idea of fun. I didn't go this year even though one of my ex girlfriends is head of press relations for E3 and has printed me up any badge I wanted.

    E3 has gotten so boring that most of my friends in the industry don't care to go anymore - its viewed now as a chore.
  • Siggraph (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Odd that this comes out right as Siggraph 2006 starts up
  • I've been ignoring E3 in favor of TGS for the past few years. I'm not sad to see E3 go.
  • I can't wait to see this week's CTRL ALT DEL! Ethan will be so upset. Thats like a game that will make you cry [slashdot.org].... =(
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The show is moving to the Pentagon, and will be held outdoors in a special mock-up of Tehran. Salon.com reports that the centerpiece of the convention will be the sequel to America's Army, Rove: Eternal War. It's a fusion title that melds RPG, strategy "tactics", FPS, and even sports, in a sex-free romp through the Middle East that's suitable for all ages. Those who complete the title are treated to a sneak peak at one of three expansion packs: Syria, North Korea, and China!
  • by Ryouga3 ( 683889 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:00PM (#15812806) Journal
    I'm not joking about this(see title). Booth babes are tremendously important to bringing in customers, and if E3 sends the message that they're taking a puritanical attitude, they only tick off the vendors who spend lots of money to set up booths, and discourage people from coming to the show.
  • E3 is not cancelled. http://www.clubskill.com/Game_News/3998/E3%20cance lled%20for%20upcoming%20years [clubskill.com] It's even on their official site: "It has been marked on the official E3 website: Planning is already underway for E3 2007. Mark your calendars: E3 2007 May 16-18, 2007 Los Angeles Convention Center"
  • Good riddance. If "the larger software publishers and hardware manufacturers" aren't interested in presenting information about new games instead of showing off boobs and hyping their games then this is only a good thing. Maybe they could spend the marketing money on more finished products instead (I'm looking at you EA and BF2). E3 is a good example of everything that's wrong with the industry.
  • This convention needs a proper burial. /bagpipes
  • by PoderOmega ( 677170 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @04:30PM (#15812938)
    This is great news, no E3, no G4 coverage!
  • So, either they are basically saying that certain companies are pulling out or it's just a big rumor. If you go here http://www.e3expo.com/default.aspx [e3expo.com] you'll see that E3 2007 is already underway.
    • Re:Hmm. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kenshin ( 43036 )
      That's not news. At EVERY E3, at the main exit, they have a big banner with the date of the next year's event.
      • Well, that's true, but don't you think they would still have it if they plan to cancel next year's event? I think not. That seems a little towards false advertising to me. Even if some companies drop out, I'm sure they would try to do something at least... especially while they are giving an exact date.
        • The E3 organizers' PR team are in damage control mode right now. They're gonna leave their website exactly as it is until they have some sort of official announcement to make.

          This is standard operating practice in EVERY industry. Even e-commerce sites will keep selling stuff right up until they officially shut down.
  • E3 used to be a fun public event. This made it as much of a marketing/advertising tool as a publishing and development tools for making new deals. A few years ago, they decided to make E3 off limits to the general public and only available to developers and the media. I'm not surprised companies no longer decided the expensive booths was no longer worth the time, effort and development disruptions. If you've ever worked inside a game company, often times you lose one or two months out of the year just w
  • Wow... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Zimnick ( 992124 )
    To everyone who's saying "E3 is not canceled!!!" and giving your "proof" as being the E3 website saying, "Planning is already underway for E3 2007. Mark your calendars: E3 2007 May 16-18, 2007" I have something to share with you: that has been listed on the website since E3 2006 ended. They announced those dates, and have said that exact same thing ever since E3 2006 was going on. I was there, I saw the banners all over the exits. Granted, I'm not exactly glad that this could be happening to E3, but at the
  • What will all the smallfry gaming sites do with their $200 yearly ad revenue besides subsidize a party weekend at E3? Where will we get entertaining drama if we don't have all their editors sharing a hotel room? WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO PICS 344 THROUGH 500 OF THE NEXT GTA?! Oh, the humanity!
  • Comdex [wikipedia.org] was once a prestigious event, now it's basically gone due to the same forces. Large companies backing out. Why? 'cause they messed with something that worked. Kick out the public, ban booth babes (restrict how I can use the space I pay for, and I stop paying), etc. Rather than keep things fresh, and trying to raise the bar each year for the show, it's the same thing, with less "fun" each year.

    I have a hint for anyone organizing any such event; Don't try to make it "better" by restricting it. Yo
  • Multiple Stories (Score:2, Informative)

    by Fo0dNippl3 ( 923930 )
    GameSpot's story on this says that E3 is downsizing and moving. Other sites say it will be split into publisher specific expos. Some sites are even saying it's cancelled completely. I think the "cancelled" camp are just sensationalists trying to get hits. A downsize seems more likely.
  • by CaseM ( 746707 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @05:42PM (#15813282)
    How the hell is a serious gamer like me gonna to get to see boobs?
    • You want to see boobs? my God! you are a sinner! repent before it is too late.

      On the other hand, if you want to slaughter, kill, set on fire, stab and decapitate your enemies in a game, that's ok. You are a normal person.

  • I think E3 needed a little humility. It was just getting way out of hand. From what I've heard, you spent most of your time looking at demo reels and waiting in line then playing games. This has probably been said before, but this will also give small developers a chance to shine. Developers who might of not had the finances to create a big E3 booth now don't need to worry about it. The pressure to make big publicity is lessened. Publicity can be good, but at a trade show like E3, where big name developers
  • I'm calling bullshit. E3 had twenty seven major vendors last year. Twenty seven vendors do not pull out of the major global conference simultaneously. I just don't believe this is true. Sony has increased the size of their show every year for the last five years, because it's making them a ton of press. Nintendo had booths in all three major halls. Even software vendors like Konami plunk down for huge booths.

    This is just another "hi we're going to lie to get traffic then dust it under the rug" tactic,
  • Am I the only one... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by east coast ( 590680 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @06:20PM (#15813454)
    I think this proves that I'm no longer a geek: While I appreciate the newsworthiness of this article, am I the only one who has absolutely no sense of loss? Frankly the comings and goings of the e3 thing never really made a difference to me. If I'm looking for gaming news I go to game sites, granted, there is trickle down but I've never once went to a site to see their e3 coverage.

    As for booth babes? Please. Being all hot and bothered over women in bikinis and such at a gaming convention is along the same lines as beating off to a Victoria Secrets catalog. I have an internet connection if I was really that desperate for boobs.
  • E3 is dead! Long live E3!
  • by bitt3n ( 941736 ) on Sunday July 30, 2006 @07:59PM (#15813890)
    if there are any out-of-work booth babes out there who need a place to stay while they're getting back on their feet, my basement apartment, several bulk packages of Ho-Hos, and a rack of size-2 Seven of Nine uniforms is available to provide you with shelter, food and clothing during this trying ordeal.
  • I wonder if the big companies that are leaving happen to be Microsoft and Sony. I could see them wanting to pull out after what happened with Nintendo at the last E3.
  • by achacha ( 139424 )
    It's not a convention, it's not about unveiling new stuff... it's about free stuff, booth abes and after parties! It's a fricken junket for the overworked and underpaid.
  • It may not make sense from a game companies point of view but only in the sense of tangibles, the intangible value is being largely ignored. I have a feeling the "dissatisfaction" with e3 was brought on by the larger companies such as EA or Sony. E3 can be a scary place for them because with the exception of booth size advertising dollars mean nothing there, its put up or shut up. Look at the results of this years E3, Nintendo gets a huge boost, Sony pisses down its leg, a few small developers get some m
  • Every computer show has a lifespan, and each burns out not shortly after a peak when vendors find there is too much noise and too much riff-raff to get a message out effectively. Among the first major victims was the National Computer Conference (NCC) which died around 1984; one I attended in Anaheim had spread all over the convention center and into tents in the parking lot. Similarly the West Coast Computer Faire a few years later. Comdex and E3 are only the latest victims of their own success (and

The absent ones are always at fault.