Rumor: E3 to Go Public

By Blake Ellison, Sep 03, 2008 11:05am PDT The E3 Media & Business Summit, reeling from criticism across the industry following its poor show for 2008, is looking to fix the problem.

The Board of Directors of the Electronic Software Association has officially proposed and is discussing the possibility of opening the show to the public, effectively reversing a 2006 decision to scale down the show and only open to the press, according to a rumor on Kotaku.

The show technically has always been an invite-only affair, but prior to 2006 the show was an extravagant frenzy of publicity and parties from companies all around the gaming industry. When the atmosphere was calmed into a more networking-friendly convention, the quality of games shown--and gamer enthusiasm--has steadily declined, leading Spore designer Will Wright to call E3 2008 "the walking dead."

Meanwhile, public enthusiasm for a convention has proven a valuable tool for organizers. Last weekend's Penny Arcade Expo, a fan favorite, drew over 58,000 attendees and announced an expansion in the business. The Games Convention, also open to the public, is also on the move.

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  • E3 failed on many fronts. Although many publishers and developers have kicked E3 2008 in the nuts repeatedly, they are largely the ones that couldn't stand to pay Millions for the extravagant show exhibitions. Its easy to see why they chose to go to other events. Publishers and Developers still want to network and demonstrate new works to retailers and the public, but they don't want to bleed so much money in the process.

    And does it really matter anyway? E3 is the poster child of what can go so wrong and much of the big players have left the ESA.