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E3 2007 Downsized?

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Rumors are flying around the web at this very moment about E3 being downsized to press only or even cancelled. ESA, the organization behind E3, is said to announce the news tomorrow.

Apparently, it is too costly for exhibitors to pay for all the extravagant displays and all the staff running around to manage it all. This year’s E3 attracted 60,000 people featuring over 400 exhibitors. The hotels and service industry in L.A. take in over 50 million during E3 every year, the same amount that attendees and exhibitors spend during the three-day event.

As disappointing as it sounds for the average gamer, this would also mean better press coverage of the event, as Joystiq suggests. This year people waited in line for hours and hours to try Nintendo’s Wii. Even though that’s great for Nintendo, it’s not great for the event itself.

We’ll have to wait until tomorrow for ESA to announce what is going to happen, downsizing is something people can usually live with, but canceling E3 would be too much, the biggest event shutting down because it’s… too big and expensive?

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  • This was not smart on the ESA’s part at all. If they are going to discuss downsizing, relocation, restructuring, whatever of E3, they should just say it in a press release on Monday, and not let all these rumors fly for 24 hrs. Really dumb move.

  • Well, perhaps the reason they’re letting the rumors fly is that they’re completely off-base. Most of the sites I’ve seen have been saying that E3 2007 is flat-out cancelled. I somehow doubt it.

  • Oh, look, the sky isn’t falling after all. IMAGINE THAT! They are restructuring after all.

  • Andrew Ogier

    Here’s Today’s press release in full.

    “Washington, DC (July 31, 2006) – To better address the needs of today’s global computer and video game industry, the 2007 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3Expo) is evolving into a more intimate event focused on targeted, personalized meetings and activities, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced today.

    “The world of interactive entertainment has changed since E3Expo was created 12 years ago. At that time we were focused on establishing the industry and securing orders for the holiday season,” said Douglas Lowenstein, President of the ESA, the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers and the owner of E3Expo. “Over the years, it has become clear that we need a more intimate program, including higher quality, more personal dialogue with the worldwide media, developers, retailers and other key industry audiences.”

    The new E3Expo will take shape over the next several months. As currently envisioned, it will still take place in Los Angeles, described by ESA as a “great and supportive partner helping to build E3.” It will focus on press events and small meetings with media, retail, development, and other key sectors. While there will be opportunities for game demonstrations, E3Expo 2007 will not feature the large trade show environment of previous years.

    “E3Expo remains an important event for the industry and we want to keep that sense of excitement and interest, ensuring that the human and financial resources crucial to its success can be deployed productively to create an exciting new format to meet the needs of the industry. The new event ensures that there will be an effective and more efficient way for companies to get information to media, consumers, and others,” said Lowenstein.

    Additionally, the evolution of the video game industry into a vibrant and expanding global market has led to the creation of major events in different regions, such as the Games Convention in Leipzig, the Tokyo Game Show, and company-specific events held by Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, and others around the world. As a result, Lowenstein said, “It is no longer necessary or efficient to have a single industry ‘mega-show’. By refocusing on a highly-targeted event, we think we can do a better job serving our members and the industry as a whole, and our members are energized about creating this new E3.”

    Additional details about the new E3Expo event will be forthcoming in the next few months.

    The ESA is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of the companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. ESA members collectively account for more than 90 percent of the $7 billion in entertainment software sales in the U.S. in 2005, and billions more in export sales of entertainment software. For more information about the ESA, please visit http://www.theESA.com.”

    So, it’s not strictly cancelled, just ditching the glitz and glamour… going back to basics. Whether it’s a good or bad thing, I guess we’ll have to wait till next year to find out.

  • I have an op-ed piece that will be up soon. I am not sure exactly how I feel about a show for 5,000 people. Right now, I am in shock. Though I think everyone is at this point.

    I am also kicking myself for not going this year, even if I didn’t have the money for it.

    E3 is going to be very different next year. “Festival” is a lot different than “Expo,” no matter how you slice it.

    If Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and EA all pulled out, as Next-Gen is saying, I wonder what avenue they will use to announce new hardware and software.

  • What made E3 so great was the huge amount of fans present every year. 60.000 people visited the show this year. Without that crowd, it will never be the same.

  • To be clear, that was 60,000 people in the media. The show is not open to the public. Sure, we are all fans, but I would argue that the show was getting too big, too much “my booth is bigger than yours,” too much glitz.