URGENT: E3 No More!

Next-Gen.biz reports: The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) shindig has been a staple of game industry life since the mid-1990s. However, we understand the larger exhibitors have jointly decided that the costs of the event do not justify the returns, generally measured in media exposure.

Publishers believe the multi-million dollar budgets would be better spent on more company-focused events that bring attention to their own product lines rather than the industry as a whole.

ESA president Doug Lowenstein will likely announce the news some time within the next 48 hours, possibly on Monday. It’s likely that the ESA will seek to limit the damage by organizing some form of lesser event in May, possibly even with the E3 brand, but this will be no more than a fig-leaf. The days of an industry event attended by all the major publishers, spending big money, are gone.

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Gamespot.com Reports:

GameSpot has learned that tomorrow the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) will announce changes to the format and scale of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the game industry event that typically draws in excess of 60,000 attendees and includes over 400 exhibitors.

On July 28, the Web site of UK trade magazine MCV reported discussions had taken place between the ESA and E3 exhibitors which addressed the future of the annual trade show.

Sources said that rather than fill the 540,000 square feet of the cavernous LACC, the show will take place at a location that would support exhibitors in meeting room space only, with companies showing their wares to a select group of attendees numbering in the hundreds rather than thousands.

One reason behind the downsizing of the show can be attributed to the dollar cost of the event to exhibitors, including the demands on companies to assign large numbers of staff to focus on the show, expenses associated with travel to the show, and the added expense to polish game builds and demos to be shown to attendees.

One source added that the new format of the show may actually result in a more productive environment to demo games to the media, although they stopped short of full disclosure: “My lips are sealed until after the weekend,” the source said.

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Pretty major stuff here. I don’t know what to think of it. To some extent I understand why this decision is being made. I mean E3 is really meant for the press and it has gotten out of control in recent years as companies are spending more money on their booths then on their games yet it’s harder and harder to play the demos. Even so this is a major loss… This was the trade show convention to attend and now it seems just like any other convention.

I wonder what impact this will have on GDC since that is already aimed at the core business.

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