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E3 2007 A More 'Targeted' Event 76

simoniker writes "Following some rampant media speculation over the weekend, the ESA trade organization has released an official statement on the future of the E3 game trade show, revealing that it is not cancelled outright, but is rather 'evolving into a more intimate event focused on targeted, personalized meetings and activities.' E3 2007 will still take place in Los Angeles next year, according to the ESA's Doug Lowenstein, but 'will not feature the large trade show environment of previous years.'" Which is to say, it's not really E3 anymore.
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E3 2007 A More 'Targeted' Event

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  • by Incoherent07 ( 695470 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @02:53PM (#15819322)
    Hopefully this "intimate" event will improve the signal-to-noise ratio, which has been pretty atrocious recently. It may also spur more companies to run their own events just for their legions of fans... you know, like BlizzCon.
    • Or ride off existing game-oriented events like PAX. I rather like this idea actually, push the games towards the gamers directly, right on their door step.

      • I like the idea of PAX taking over, as well. If you have ever been there, you will know the sheer riot of light and noise that is there. It is fun, and very exhausting. Let PAX be the crazy side. Let this show be more like the Game Developer's Conference, with a lot less hoopla, and just get the information out. There are always a lot of people that get into E3, that don't belong there.
    • Refocusing to benefit the fans and not the press would be a good thing though. Too bad they don't just open E3 to the public, but it looks like what's left over is going to be even more exclusive. []
    • 3 Reasons

      The "noise" which is the main thing that killed this event was the thousands of fan-boys that didn't belong there. This wasn't supposed to be the "Who Loves Videogames, Come On Down!" event that it became, it was always meant to be private, industry only. When such a huge percentage are not the media, buyers, or developers, basically anyone who can help your business other than buying your stuff retail then you end up having to cast a fairly large net to get the people you want. Your playing to a
    • he_electron.html [] From a marketing and competitive perspective, I think this will invigorate the focus on gaming, and not the focus on the spectacle. Although, I never got to see the spectacle, and I wish I could... I think that in the long run it will be better for the industry and gamers.
  • Hang on... (Score:2, Insightful)

    You mean the point WASN'T to be a media orgy?
  • What is E3? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Doches ( 761288 ) <Doches&gmail,com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @02:55PM (#15819351)

    What is E3? Is it just a convention, a convenient vehicle for putting developers in the same room as producers and distributors? Or is it...a spectacle, a chance to throw out some massive hype and drum up interest in upcoming games?

    Please, that's not even a question. E3 may have started out as a business-oriented conference, but the name "E3" is now completely associated with booth babes, demos, drool, web comics, vaporware, and Sony press releases of Epic proportions (Forgive the pun...). E3 is dead, this announcement notwithstanding. It's also a clear example of the Theseus paradox, but that's not really relevant.

    Goodbye, ridiculously endearing media event. thing.

    • When I was working at Infogrames (now Atari), it meant seeing a highlight video tape of your supervisors totally plastered, a PR girl grabbing her crotch during a song, and a vice president dancing in fishnet pantyhose at a company E3 party. That's why I prefer going to the more quieter Game Developers Conference instead. :)
      • Count adjourned, I'm going to have to review this Exhibit A: PR girl grabbing crotch in my private legal media review booth...
    • Re:What is E3? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ObligatoryUserName ( 126027 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @03:27PM (#15819658) Journal
      Exactly. The people who are upset that E3 is being changed are the people who made it untenable in the first place. E3 was intended to be an important business event, not the GenCon for video games that it has become.

      The necessity of being a media circus has thrown the cost-benefit equation of E3 way off track. As a business event it was becoming less and less valuable because of the increasingly non-industry attendance, as a media event it was becoming less and less valuable because of the proliferation of other media channels (thanks Internet!), and it was continually getting more expensive. This change is good.
    • What is E3? Is it just a convention, a convenient vehicle for putting developers in the same room as producers and distributors? Or is it...a spectacle, a chance to throw out some massive hype and drum up interest in upcoming games?

      From what I've seen -- yes, the latter, and what's confusing, given this decision -- the game companies seemed to love it for that. I'm not sure the ESA is fully in touch with either their most important gaming fans or most of the game companies themselves.

    • This year, I had the opportunity to attend E3 to help my business grow. I had to decide whether or not the trip would be worthwhile. When I looked at the stated reason for E3's existence, it looked like the precise event I needed to attend; when I asked people about it and recalled my experiences there in years past, I knew that there would be no chance to actually make the business contacts I needed to make.

      I'm happy to see this kind of change.
  • Translation? (Score:1, Redundant)

    by N8F8 ( 4562 )
    "targeted, personalized meetings and activities" Strippers and lap-dances to get the buyers in the right "mood"?
    • "targeted, personalized meetings and activities" Strippers and lap-dances to get the buyers in the right "mood"?

      Clearly you misunderstand the meaning of the word 'targeted.' What they mean to say is that they'll be playing a FPS on closed 8-person LANs, hence the 'targeted'. Oh, and they'll be using first names, hence the 'personalized'. And, of course, they'll be saying 'hi' to eachother and there will be massive quantities of hand-shaking (the 'meetings').

      As for strippers and lap-dances, I think you'

  • by clragon ( 923326 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @03:01PM (#15819411)
    One of the reasons Will Wright released the first gameplay video of Spore [] at the Game Developer Conference 2006, instead of E3, was because he felt [] E3 was more like a commercial used by game producers to hype the games before it comes out, not a place for developers to exchange ideas and make better games.
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @03:02PM (#15819416)
    ... a more intimate event focused on targeted, personalized meetings and activities.

    So the booth babes are being replaced by hookers?
  • by Ryan Amos ( 16972 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @03:03PM (#15819436)
    All they're gonna do is make it a "closed door" meeting by charging $3k for a press pass. The entry fee will keep most of the autograph-seeking kiddies away while allowing all the media coverage of the old show and making a tidy profit to boot.

    E3 has not always been open to the public, either. Only in the past couple years have they started selling general admission tickets, though it was never hard to get a press pass if you had even a moderately popular web site.

    I bet the ESA looked at the industry and realized that because of consolidation and an off-year for consoles there are only a few big players left who can afford to support E3, and they're already throwing their own events.
    • "E3 has not always been open to the public, either. Only in the past couple years have they started selling general admission tickets, though it was never hard to get a press pass if you had even a moderately popular web site."

      Er... E3 has never been [] open to the public.
    • How is parent modded Informative?

      It used to be easy to get into E3, but recently, it has become harder and harder to get in if you weren't part of the industry or press. The only time tickets were up for sale was an eBay auction for a pair of press passes, but that was taken down quickly. Parent seriously has his info mixed up.
      • Our webmaster isn't really a member of an active gaming press site, just a fansite, and he got in. I wouldn't say it's too hard given the right contacts. But yes, grandparent may be wrong in that there are autograph-seeking boys running around there or something. But it sure isn't *that* limited, and I know another guy who let people in our community have tickets if anyone wanted to come, just out of kindness.
    • It's a bit sad though, because the game companies on E3 I've heard coverage from have been of varying sizes, and all happy to have all sorts of people come visit their booth. The point was to meet fans to spread a good word and hype for them after coming home, and get some press coverage too. Press coverage being only half of the PR value. E3 was also already quite "intimate" with plenty of chances for first hand chat with game company employees if you could at all visit.

      If they want to make a greater profi
      • Right, E3 was a great venue for many of the smaller sites out there, exactly because it did provide the kind of intimate, one on one interview opportunities that fansites almost never get. I have a feeling that in the purge to remove the non-media fans, a lot of smaller fan sites will get shut out as well.

        I think the effects of cancelling E3 (and that's what this is; E3 as the game-buying-public knows it has been cancelled) will be profoundly damaging from a symbolic standpoint. There are already signs of a
  • spaceworld (Score:3, Interesting)

    by minus_273 ( 174041 ) <> on Monday July 31, 2006 @03:03PM (#15819440) Journal
    I guess this means spaceworld will be coming back...
  • by poopie ( 35416 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @03:07PM (#15819464) Journal
    Sad to see the end of an era, but the internet and RSS effectively take nearly all of the mystery, excitement, and suspense out of traveling to a computer trade show.

    The only suspense left is related to unsubstantiated rumors, blurry prototype photos on blogger sites, and actualy press releases by companies.

    I remember years ago how exciting the West Coast Computer Fair was -- small vendors trying to show off something special that you would otherwise never see or know about, then I remember Comdex - people coming from all over the world to unveil new products.

    Nobody waits for a trade show now to unveil anything - everyone wants a jump on their competition, and consumers don't want to wait for information that they could be reading about in their RSS feed readers every day.

    As a result, people feel less and less inclined to go to trade shows when they already know all there is to know about the PS3, the Wii, the Xbox 360's giant external power transformer, the new games, etc.

    I remember the excitement of collecting vendor trinkets and carrying HUGE bags of product literature around for days on end. Who's going to do that now? I mean... maybe jot down a few urls in your PDA, but... traveling to collect BAGS of literature? That's so last century.
  • but did the ESA's annoucement about the E3EXPO drive anyone else nuts!? that out of the way, I think it might not be so bad. I think the last E3 was alot more hype and smokescreen than actuall presentation.. but I only caught some media coverage I havn't been myself. Hopefully this lead to more and better quality presentations from the big names. At the very least it might help aleviate some of the used car lot feel of everyone trying to grab your attention to hype this or that.
  • evolving into a more intimate event focused on targeted, personalized meetings and activities.

    Ian Faith might have said their appeal is becoming more selective.

  • Bleh, E3 (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 31, 2006 @03:18PM (#15819563)
    The outright death of E3 would probably be the best thing to happen to game development teams. E3 costs us tons of time each year -- the event itself takes up a lot of our time, but so does preparing for it and recovering from it. E3 dictates ship schedules and major milestones and sometimes even the ultimate fate of entire projects or even studios. The whole show is all about the hype and not about the substance.

    Of course the perspective of a marketing persion will be the opposite of that of a developer. But I think that marketing departments are half the problem with the industry -- the drive has become one to create guaranteed sellers using big IP licenses and tired old game formats rather than to create excellent products that sell on their own merits.
  • E3Expo (Score:4, Funny)

    by Samir Gupta ( 623651 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @03:50PM (#15819864) Homepage
    Did the Department of Redundancy Department make up that name?
  • by dotHectate ( 975458 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @03:56PM (#15819936) Journal
    If the past few years hasn't been a strong indicator, the Penny-Arcade Expo is now officially the only real place to be. Well, count me in!
  • by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:00PM (#15819968)
    [Paraphrasing] EA complained that, "The cost of putting a pig in a nice enough dress that people forget it is a pig has been increasing year on year to the point where we just don't see we're getting a reasonable return on our investment."

    Strangely, the companies with good games to actually show off, despite having a very small floor presence and minimal budgets somehow get plenty of press attention.

    Crysis wasn't that big a booth (nor was Far Cry several years back). Dead Rising consisted of maybe four consoles and no one to talk it up. Half Life 2 was a single small room. Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, a couple of years back, was a few GameCubes, some weird controllers and one girl trying to explain it to confused people. Guitar Hero was a relatively small setup too. Every one of those titles gained huge coverage because, shockingly, they relied on simply being good.

    EA has about a third of the gaming market sewn up and is very profitable because it has realized the same thing the movie industry has: Make 20% profits on lots of safe investments and you'll be far better off than someone who makes 1000% on one title and has ten others fail. It's a great business model but ultimately means you put out a boring product that no amount of dressing it up is going really excite journalists who're looking for something sensational.

    As such, yeah, no amount of spending will get a good return at E3 compared to the small companies that have their one really exciting release. The little companies will never need a big booth and the creme-de-la-creme of LA's strippers to get people's interest. For EA, it makes absolute sense to move to a private demo where you fly journalists in, competing against no one else, and then let the small guys starve in a world with no centralized tradeshow that journalists will be at and they're too small to pay to fly them in for one-on-ones.

    For the EA business model of large quantities of predictable over taking risks, E3 was at best a waste of money and at worst a way to help the competition.

    Not knocking EA per se. Other large publishers have reached similar conclusions just as the movie industry, music industry and even the book publishing industry have. I just picked EA because they're so much larger than anyone else (largely because of having been smart enough, even if we hate the reality of it, to realize this before most others).

    The sad truth is, E3 was great for gamers as it rewarded small companies with great games vastly more than giants with solid but repetetive ones. As the giants have the money, its death was kind of inevitable.
  • This new E3 format will likely be in effect for anywhere between zero and one year. Either they'll pull the "new" format a few weeks before E3 2007, or they'll see that it's an even worse turnout than E3 2006 and switch back.
  • by Speare ( 84249 )

    Is this dupe a Backslash article, or just the run-of-the-mill kind of dupe? Like, did Zonk read the previous replies and decide that there wasn't enough ad hits, or did Zonk NOT even read the little sidebar that's RIGHT THERE ON THE FRONT PAGE that says "Older Stuff: The End of E3?" and decide to crank out this blurb?

  • Everyone spent millions or at least hundreds of thousands of dollars (apiece) to be there - and all everyone wanted to do was play with the Wii. That was probably the final straw.

    Also I imagine Sony pitched a gargantuan fit after they tanked like a Sherman that's thrown its treads.
  • Video Game "Cannes" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kenshin ( 43036 ) <> on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:49PM (#15820418) Homepage
    With E3 imploding, the games indutry is losing its biggest attention-grabbing showpiece.

    Ya, it kinda deviated from its original intention as a trade show, but it became sort of a "Cannes" of videogames.

    If you don't know what the Cannes Film Festival is, it's an annual international film festival (obviously) in the city of Cannes, France. The most important film festival in the world. It's filled to the brim with celebrities, and is a favourite venue for famous directors to debut their newest film.

    E3, in recent years, started to emulate this festival in certain ways. In a more plasticky, american way, of course.

    The internet may be the most efficient way of putting-out press releases, trailers and screenshots, but the games industry NEEDS a flashy annual event. (And I'm certain many of you will be quite vocal in your disagreement with this.)
    • "but the games industry NEEDS a flashy annual event"

      • For the same reason the automotive industry needs its annual Detroit Auto Show. Being there and seeing it is much better than a dry PDF and AVI file. Wandering the floor and finding something unexpected that you weren't exactly looking for.

        Look at Kentia Hall. There is NO WAY IN HELL those companies would have any way of getting any (relatively) decent amount of notice if they relied on the web. (They have a hard enough time as it is getting noticed.)

        The problem is E3 spending got WAY out of control, each c
        • Cars exist in real, three dimensional meat-space. Video games do not. I believe this distinction might be significant.
          • So do things like game consoles and accessories.

            Plus, attentive developers can stand around and watch people interact with their games. See what's working and what's not, without having to dredge teens from a mall for focus testing. (A few times I've been playing games at E3, and seen developers keenly watching.)
  • Next gen consoles is a pit of money for any big publisher. Who is looking for another reason than that?
  • I don't understand why everyone keeps saying "it won't be e3 anymore." The media circus is recent and ancillary. E3 is and always has been about the back rooms that you have to pay boatloads extra to go to. It's going to be the same E3 it's always been, for the industry people it's always been for.
  • The company responsible for running E3 has closed at least two sattelite offices and laid off the staff. Evidently it was not their choice, and this is damage control. No one really knows how next year's E3 will work out, and it may not survive to the year after that.
  • I went to E3 in 2003, 2004, and 2005 as a guest of a certain smaller publisher that just got gobbled by EA. E3 is *not* a good venue for companies to talk to each other. The big guys have boothes that dwarf everyone one else, not only that, most of them(and special nods to Blizzard and Capcom here) are insanely loud that no one can hear anything below a shout. For every person asking reps meaningful things, there were 8 looking for free junk.

    Pretty much anyone who could pay the admissions reguardless of pre
  • I mentioned this once before but I'll do it again because 1.) I'm a glutton for punishment, and 2.) I think I'm right.

    The big winner in this will be San Diego Comic-Con. Already, many of the game publishers are exhibiting there, and one of the "big three" console makers as well. (Nintendo) I strongly believe that Comic-Con will attract more as e3 becomes smaller and smaller.
    • It would be even better if you remove the comics from Comic Con and only have a Video gaming event. That means no anime, board games, card games, just computer/TV based video games ;). If I want to go to a comic book convention, I would go to comic book events, not video games. If I go to Otakon, I could care less if Capcom decides to have a nice booth. If I go to Tokyo Game show, I would not give a fuck if Spike Spiegel returns from the dead for a new season of Cowboy Bebop. If I go to a video game ev
  • I wonder if PAX will pickup where E3 dies off. It is growing with every year and they seem to be getting more and more insider demos, displays and the lot. Perhaps the Gencon/ComicCon of video games will no longer be E3, but will turn to PAX instead to fill the fanboy urge.
  • by Doyle ( 620849 )
    Reporter: "Does this mean the popularity of E3 is waning?"

    ESA: "Oh, no, no, no, no, no,, no, not at all. I just think that its appeal is becoming more selective."

    (With apologies to Spinal Tap)
  • All I really care about at E3 time (along with 99.99% of the public) is that I get my game news and videos delivered to me in a timely fashion. Also, nothing should ever be below HD content on the web from now on. That said, I hope E3's online presence becomes more organized in the process with developers all responsible for delivering content for web-based delivery, so I dont have to watch crappy camera bootlegs of games.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.