Industry Leaders Speak Out on E3's Relevance

By Aaron Linde, Jul 21, 2008 8:00pm PDT Following last week's E3 2008 Media and Business Summit, several industry veterans have weighed in on the usefulness of the conference, with many remarking that the show has outlived its usefulness.

However, Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences president Joseph Olin told Shacknews that no company wants to be excluded from E3, noting that the conference is still the largest annual gathering of its kind in the gaming industry.

"The venue itself, I don't think E3 is as exciting as the products that are within it," Olin added. "I think, perhaps [at] the old E3, the frame overpowered the print. And now, I think it really is the opportunity to focus on the work, which is the most important thing."

Olin's comments bear sharp contrast to remarks made by several industry leaders. Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello offered harsher words for the revised E3, which as of 2007 has shifted towards an invitation-only arrangement for attendees.

"I hate E3 like this," Riccitiello told the San Francisco Chronicle, as reported by MCV. "Either we need to go back to the old E3, or we'll have to have our own private events."

Oft-quoted Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter remarked that "the spectacle of E3 is dead" in an investor mailing, adding that publishers and console manufacturers must take action to salvage dwindling consumer interest in the annual show.

"The Los Angeles Convention Center concourse was as quiet as a college library during summer, with little to attract media attention," Pachter wrote. "The main game display area was similar in size to a school cafeteria (as compared to filling the entire convention center)."

The comments follow remarks made by 3D Realms CEO Scott Miller late last month, who said that the long-awaited Duke Nukem Forever would not be appearing at E3 because it was "irrelevant."

"It's just that we view E3 as irrelevant nowadays," Miller told Next-Gen. "In fact, I wasn't even aware it was coming up."

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  • What never made sense to me were the following:

    1. The media and game devs would gripe that they had a hard time getting info out due to the crowds and all that but seriously how hard is it to just set aside the first day for the press (like they do at the Leipzig)?

    2. The complaints from game companies (devs/publishers) that they "had to" spend more money to keep up with their competitors. BS. You can easily cap what you're spending, no one is forcing anyone to spend more to "keep up." That whole argument never made sense.

    I'll agree with the folks grumbling that there were far too many non-essentials sneaking into the show but I don't know that it was the end of the world, either. It did get pretty crazy before everything changed around last year but it was at least a fun spectacle that drew far more national attention, which is a very good thing.