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E3 2007 Not Canceled, Really?

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Note: Sunday, July 30th, Next-Gen broke the story saying that the ESA (Entertainment Software Association) was going to make a major announcement about E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) including the fact that major vendors had pulled out, among other unsubstantiated rumors. This created much debate from blog to forum across the Internet.

Since then, a press release by the ESA, and an interview of Doug Lowenstein in the Wall Street Journal has cleared up many questions (while creating many more questions, of course). However, this was mostly written before those events, and left as originally written, with the exception of what is now fact.

E3 is the yearly media circus set in May where the gaming industry shows off everything that is new in the world of gaming. Though the event has been press/industry only, it was not impossible to get through the gate. Next year’s E3 will be by invitation only.

Though not all questions have answers, the show that is E3 will never be the same again.

E3 will be downsized from the L.A. Convention Center and an attendance of around 60,000 (in 2006) to a set of hotel rooms in L.A. with a target head count of around 5,000.

That is a big change, but much of the future of E3 remains to be seen — even after today’s events.

I am not sure what to think about the small show in a hotel. I am going to wait for more news from the ESA. Is the “new” E3 a way to salvage a show after big names (Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, EA) pulled out? And is Lowenstein spinning this “evolution” of E3 on us? I have no idea. But I want more solid answers first, before I form a hair-brained idea.

The following is the original editorial.

Joystiq, Kotaku, and even Blogcritics thought it was necessary to report on the rumors that E3 was cancelled.

I have never understood the usefulness of reporting rumors as news, in the gaming space or otherwise. It is a fundamental flaw with all journalism and no one can be blamed, because everyone does it.

Sure, rumors have their place, but there are times when they seem way out of line. This was one of those times. Everyone was reporting how the sky was falling on the gaming industry.

All the while, I didn't jump the gun, and predicted a smaller show. And that seems like what is happening. I am getting sick and f-ing tired of all these gloom-and-doom reports (rumors). Frankly, blogs piss me off when it comes to this shit (see white PSP advert incident).

My comment on the BC article still stands, however:

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.

Although the ESA calls this an "evolution" of the show, I am sure many gamers will be crying foul. The fact is, we don't know exactly what E3 2007 will be yet — that remains to be seen. So lets just wait until we hear more info from the ESA. Who knows, it might get more accomplished with less fluff than ever before.

GameSpot is now reporting that E3 will be moved to July. This is a great idea. It is the slowest part of the year for the industry, and would allow developers more time to work on games (instead of rushing them).

According to GameSpot, Lowenstein has revealed to the Wall Street Journal that E3 will be known as the "E3 Media Festival." It has also come to light that the show will not be held in the L.A. Convention Center, but in a number of hotels, with around 5,000 people.

I am not sure what these changes are going to do to the industry, nor am I sure I have an opinion on such a smaller show just yet. This is such a shock to the system.

The press release holds much close to the vest, saying that "additional details about the new E3Expo event will be forthcoming in the next few months." So lets just wait and see what the ESA tells us. For now, all we know is that E3 "is evolving into a more intimate event focused on targeted, personalized meetings and activities."

I see this as only a good thing. Many people have predicted that E3 was getting too big for its own good. The show does not serve the purpose it once did, because the industry is not as small as it was when E3 started.

Less glitz and more focus on the games is just fine with me. Gears of War was not shown on the show floor this year, and I think they accomplished what they wanted to. Smaller developers could actually have a win-win with this new format, as they would not be drowned out as easily as before.

I am sure more news will be out soon, but until then, can we keep the gossip to a minimum, please? Substantiated information is being unveiled as we speak.

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About Ken Edwards

  • I just have to say that this is a joke. E3 has always been about the fans, 60,000 of them, and cutting it down to 3-4,000 is beyond hilarious. I couldn’t even believe my eyes as I read about the change (or cancellation, in my opinion) of E3. I work with a gaming website and have attended E3 for the past three years and now no longer want to go. It’s going to be held in a hangar??? Come on. Much of the excitement is having it be in the LA Convention Center with many different halls and conference rooms for both media and fans. Having it held in a hangar in Santa Monica is just ridiculous. Who makes up the gaming industry, I ask you. Closing it to everyone, even though I’m still invited, is excluding the most important people and turning E3 into a country club meeting. Where is the fun in that? Where is the fun of the mass amount of media and showrooms. E3 can and has been personal, as I have had many quiet meetings with software developers above the brilliant show floor that wasn’t located in some abandoned hangar. The point is, the people who make E3 happen want it all to themselves. In essence, we’re seeing a display of obvious selfishness. I refuse to go.

  • About the fans? Funny, I always thought E3 was a trade show.

  • Calling game journalists “fans” is part of the reason this entire situation happened in the first place.