E3’s revamping – Is it IGF’s time?

IGF = Independent Gaming Festival

It’s a contest held every year at GDC

GDC = Game Developer’s Conference

The problem with the IGF is that they claim to be all for the indie-developer, but in fact all the rewards go to games that re-invent the wheel in the best way. Am I complaining about creativity – Hell no!

What I am complaining about is the fact that this festival only awards innovation. Not all independent games are innovative, but that doesn’t make them any less better then the ones that are.

From here it seems like the IGF is in the bed with commercial game studios. The IGF finds the creative games and the commercial game studios bid for the rights to this game and within a couple years copy the game mechanics for their own games. It appears that IGF doesn’t want to give coverage of indie-games that could compete with commercial games on any level.

Bottom line is the IGF should either change its name or add additional categories that award the kick-ass non-innovative games! E3 changed its format to better suit the industry at large and now it’s time for the Independent Games Festival to do the same.

For those interested in what categories the IGF currently has they are (excluding Mod & Student based games):

  • Technical Achievement: Scores will be based on the technical mastery and innovation demonstrated by each Entered Game’s game engine and code base.
  • Excellence in Visual Art: Scores will be based on the innovation, quality, and impressiveness of each Entered Game’s appearance and visual effects.
  • Excellence in Audio: Scores will be based on the innovation, quality, and impressiveness of each Entered Game’s music and sound effects.
  • Innovation Award: Scores will be based on the overall innovation and skillfulness demonstrated by each Entered Game’s video game design.
  • Best Web Browser Game: This category is open ONLY to those Entered Games that Sponsor determines qualify as Web Browser Games (defined below). Scores will be based on the overall innovation, quality, impressiveness, and enjoyability of each Web Browser Game. A
    Web Browser Game: is an Entered Game that must be playable within Internet Explorer 6.0 and Mozilla 1.0 browsers using either the Flash, Java, Shockwave, or Virtools plug-ins.
  • Audience Award: Public voters will download demonstrations of the games and vote for their favorite – the game with the most votes will win the award. Entered Games must have a playable public demo when asked by the Nominating Committee (likely to be around January 2007) to be considered for this category, but do not need to submit a public demo with initial entry..
  • Seumas McNally Grand Prize: This Category is open to all Entered Games. Scores will be based on the overall innovation, quality, impressiveness, and enjoyability of each Entered Game.
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    America’s VideoGame Expo

    PR: With the recently announced changes to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Lunar Tide Communications, Inc., is pleased to offer America’s VideoGame Expo (VGXPO) as an alternative venue where the game industry can communicate directly with their target audience – the consumer. Publishers and developers searching for additional locations to show off their products can look to VGXPO as a perfect opportunity to put the hottest games in the hands of gamers at a reasonable cost.

    “VGXPO organizers and its advisory board members lament that the videogame industry has matured past the need for a mega-event such as E3,” said Ed Fleming, Director of the VGXPO. “However, we see this as a transformation-catalyst for the industry – what the industry needs now is something that can be used to showcase products, promote game makers and celebrate the rich history of the industry directly with consumers.”

    “We believe that America’s VideoGame Expo offers a new kind of value proposition and is an opportunity to do more with marketing dollars. We looked at other industries for inspiration – the shows with the most impact and longest lasting power are consumer-focused direct marketing events,” stated Fleming. “Be it the International Auto Shows, Comic-Con, TGS, or localized events such as hobby shows or home and garden conventions; these are huge events that have survived for decades and run the gamut of industry players. Direct marketing at events such as these are a proven return-on-investment.”

    “As the professional organization that recognizes excellence in games among its members, the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences supports the efforts of America’s VideoGame Expo to create a venue that promotes interactive entertainment directly to consumers,” stated Joseph Olin, President, AIAS. “Providing game players an opportunity to see and experience the widest range of games possible benefits all of us who love great games”

    “It seems we’ve come full circle… I started making games over 20 years ago, back then the ONLY kind of expo was for gamers. I have very fond memories of being shoulder deep in gamers all eager to be the first to try a new game. The energy and excitement they generate fuels the passion that makes game development so fun,” said David Perry, CEO of GameConsultants.com.

    Unlike any other event, VGXPO is a gaming festival that celebrates the positive impact that videogames have on American culture. When a gamer comes to VGXPO he will have the opportunity not just to play & buy the latest games (and the retro classics) but also have the opportunity to meet the people responsible for their creation.

    “For NVIDIA consumer-oriented game shows represent an important part of our marketing strategy,” explained Bill Rehbock, Director of World Wide Publisher Relations and Consumer Awareness at NVIDIA. “Consumer events such as VGXPO are a great fit with our strategy, and will become more and more important for the industry as a whole.”

    “It’s time for a show that’s about games and the people who play them, and not just a giant party where everyone’s showing off their best pre-rendered video and earning kudos for best booth babes,” offered game industry veteran Bill Kunkel. “It’s time for an event where the smallest developers are considered just as important as the big publishers, and both groups get to show their wares directly to consumers and receive direct feedback from those same consumers. In short, it’s time for a show like VGXPO.”

    VGXPO is scheduled to take place from October 27-29, 2006 at the Valley Forge Convention Center, outside of Philadelphia, PA. For tickets or exhibiting options be sure to visit on the web at www.VGXPO.com

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    Sucessful? For some reason I don’t think so… Maybe it’s because the 2005 exhibitor list is much longer then the 2006 list. The good thing is that it’s cheap. But I don’t think developers are going to ditch E3 for this, not this year at least. Maybe in 2007 if E3 flops.

    The good thing is that since it takes place in October any game for the Holiday release will be almost completed so you’ll be playing a solid demo.

    Well it’s true – E3 modifications

    Next-Gen.biz: It was an opportunity to take stock of the industry as a whole – the people, the products and the trends. Many greeted the news that E3 had gone with shock. But, in reality, its days were numbered. Here’s why…

    1. The People Who Pay Weren’t Happy E3 was a great showpiece for the industry as a whole. But the industry as a whole does not pay for E3. Individual companies pay. They need to be able to demonstrate tangible benefits for that expense, just as they would for any other marketing cost.

    2. Four People Said ‘Enough’ The fact is that all it took were a very small number of company presidents to talk with each other, and figure out that if they all decided to pass, none of them would need to be there. Once Nintendo, Microsoft, SCEA and EA had stepped out, E3 was history. It was multilateral disarmament.

    3. Media Irrelevance There was a time when the game industry could enjoy its little May media window, as major news networks sent their reporters to the show to talk about the state of the industry. The fact that they usually filed stories on either videogame violence or new hardware launches that would have been reported anyway, seems to have been allowed to slide. These days, games are a major entertainment for people of most ages. News editors can’t afford to just cover games during E3, or with a pre-Holidays buyers’ guide. Games are always on the radar.

    4. The ‘E3 Winners’ Farce The ‘who won E3?’ contest beloved of we in the media had become a real problem. E3 is not a sporting contest, and yet it was increasingly seen as some form of championship.

    5. Rise of Publisher Events Media events held by companies to show off their own products offer publishers more control, lower costs and a more intimate atmosphere.

    6. Common Sense Then there’s common sense. For example – Nintendo’s aim at E3 was to get Wii into as many hands as possible. There must be better ways of doing this than spending $20 million making a bunch of developers and blog editors stand in a line for three hours.

    7. The Internet The Internet generally gets the blame for bringing old establishments to their knees, and this is no exception. Information is disseminated faster and at better resolution than ever. The need to go to Los Angeles to look at a game is somewhat negated when you can download a movie, or play a demo on Xbox Live. No, it’s not the same, but it’s close enough to make a difference.

    8. The High Cost Convention Centers the world over charge extortionate prices for mundane services and LACC is no exception.

    9. The Herculean Effort E3 isn’t just measured in terms of the cost of the booth, the floor-space, the party, the hotel, the flights etc. There’s also the incredible amount of effort that goes into preparing for the show. Marketing teams are focused on E3 for a good six months of the year. Developers are whipped along as they try to get games ready for what is, essentially, an artificial deadline.

    10. Big Shows are Passe For all of the reasons above, massive pan-industry events are feeling the squeeze.

    Â

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    Even though this is all meant to help the industry at large, I have the feeling that it will hurt it in more ways then one. The biggest thing now is that the media will have to hop around to different locations around the US or globally to attend different media conforences. Do they really think this will make things better for them?

    E3 was THE place for everyone in the industry – developers, publishers, media, etc – to come together. Now it’s gone. We don’t need another GDC or Siggraph. We need E3.

    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.

    ———-

    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.

    ——————-

    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.