The End of E3 as We Know It? (Updated)

On Friday, UK publication MCV reported that the future of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the game industry's biggest annual trade event, is under discussion by the Entertainment Software Association and major publishers. According to unnamed insiders, many publishers feel that the event has gotten far too big and unwieldy, not to mention costly. "Costs have been getting out of hand. We're talking double digit millions for some of us," said an MCV source. "But that's not just floorspace, of course - it's build, parties, hotels, flights. Security, particularly, has become a massive cost."

Today, the plot thickened, as both Next Generation and GameSpot are reporting that the event will no longer exist at all in its current form. Next Generation, currently running the headline "EXCLUSIVE: E3 FINISHED," claims that the ESA's Doug Lowenstein will announce within 48 hours that E3 has been cancelled for 2007 and beyond. "The days of an industry event attended by all the major publishers, spending big money, are gone," reads the article. GameSpot reports that there may be a smaller industry event around the same time as E3, though it will not be held in E3's traditional home base, the Los Angeles Convention Center. Such an event would support hundreds rather than thousands of attendees, and would be a more subdued preview event rather than a full-blown three-day industry party. GameSpot claims that the ESA will make its announcement tomorrow.

Many publishers have been heading in this direction for years now, with the largest online gaming news outlets publishing most of their E3 previews a week before E3, following smaller pre-E3 events held by publishers to ensure games are presented in ideal conditions. Such practices are also common to ensure print publications's longer lead times are less of a factor in publishing timely E3 coverage.

Update: Ars Technica has joined in the fray, stating that according to its own sources, E3 will still exist, but in much smaller form. Apparently, the ESA would like to get the show back to the smaller, more subdued gathering that E3 originally represented. Ironically E3 was first organized to avoid the bloated and costly trade shows that the games industry previously attended.

As far as which report is correct, we'll just have to wait and see. One thing on which everybody seems to agree is that the ESA will make an announcement tomorrow.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 30, 2006 11:19 AM

    Is this good or bad?

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      July 30, 2006 11:21 AM

      Depends on your perspective. For a lot of press, it could be really good. For certain publishers, it could be good; for others, bad. For gamers, it depends if you like the E3 insanity or would prefer coverage that's more spaced out and digestible.

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        July 30, 2006 11:23 AM

        So what do you think Remo?

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          July 30, 2006 11:24 AM

          It depends how exclusive it is. I would love this sort of thing if it meant it allowed press to actually play games in a reasonable setting, not overrun by people who aren't there to actually work. However, if it's going to be exclusive to the point where only the top few media conglomerates have access, it's obviously a bad call. I'd be surprised if that latter option happens though, since publishers already hold their own events for those organizations, so another one would be redundant.

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            July 30, 2006 2:03 PM

            Publishers seem to have been doing a pretty good job recently of making sure a balance of press, magazines, big news websites, enthusiast sites and even smaller bloggers have been invited to events. They certainly do a better job of keeping the riffraff out of their events than E3 itself.

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        July 30, 2006 11:23 AM

        im a hedonist and a glutton--give it to me all at once!

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        July 30, 2006 1:46 PM

        For the "fanboy" press that used to get free trips, hotels, food and booze as well as the occasional oggle at a booth babe it's death. Right now thousands of guys that run "gaming news" sites are masturbating to booth babe shots from 2 years ago using their own tears as lube.

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      July 30, 2006 11:26 AM

      It's going to be harder for smaller publishers to push their games now, but I'm sure people who're there to actually work and do things would be happy to not have 20,000 store clerks / fanboys who are just there to collect swag to get in the way

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        July 30, 2006 11:27 AM

        It depends. It's already difficult for smaller publishers because E3 is so incredibly expensive. We'll just have to see how exclusive it becomes.

    • reply
      July 30, 2006 11:41 AM


Hello, Meet Lola