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E3 Editorial

The Numerous Problems With E3 73

Posted by Zonk
from the turn-down-the-noise-ya-damn-hippies dept.
Pixelfoot writes "Loud music, scantily-clad models, guys hoarding free 'schwag', these things are all the lifeblood of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, but the writers of Gaming Horizon have had enough. They've got an article entitled Stuff We're Sick of: E3 Edition, going into their biggest gripes about the show and giving suggestions for how to improve it, including the now-popular notion among journalists to include a full day where the show floor is only open to media." I'll buy that for a dollar. From the article: "It seems like everybody has forgotten what E3 is for, exactly. Without droning on about the vibrant history of the expo, it's more than fair to say that E3 is supposed to be a place for people to do their jobs and it's turned into a carnival for looky-loos and swagbaggers."
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The Numerous Problems With E3

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  • Definition: An annual computer entertainment and videogame trade show full of busty booth babes, insanely load music, and plenty of games to play until your thumbs bleed. Good fun but hard work for game journalists.
  • Fine, I bet there are thousands of people willing to take their place.
    • Fine, I bet there are thousands of people willing to take their place.

      You know what? You're being sarcastic, but let's look at this seriously for a minute.

      The Tokyo Game Show is open to the public. And despite a couple of rough years, it is now drawing larger crowds than ever. It absolutely dwarfs E3 in both the number of visitors and the physical size of the show (I've been to both, several times). Obviously, in Japan it is considered far more important than E3, both from an industry standpoint and be
      • It absolutely dwarfs E3 in both the number of visitors and the physical size of the show (I've been to both, several times).

        I've been to E3 too many times to count, and TGS just this year, but there was no way that TGS was bigger in physical size (floor space, booths, etc).

        And day 1 of TGS is not journalist-only, but industry-only. E3 seems like a wasted opportunity as it's set up now. So people get to read about games, big deal. That's not going to convince anybody to buy anything. Open the show up. L

    • Fine, I bet there are thousands of people willing to take their place.

      IMO, anyone who wants to go to E3 should not be allowed in. No joke.

      Anyone who doesn't like this rule should not be allowed in as well.

  • by EGSonikku (519478) <petersen.mobile@gmai l . c om> on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:33PM (#13751763)
    As someone who has been to E3 I can agree to many things on the list.

    Except getting rid of the booth babes.

    Yes, the music is FAR, FAR to loud. Iv'e been to concerts with lower volume. It is absoultely insane how loud some booths go (I'm looking at you Capcom and EA).
    There needs to be some kind of noise limit.

    Crowds. I don't know if a larger venue exists, but E3 needs it, or they need to split the show up somehow. Being completly unable to move for as long as 10 minutes due to a crowd jam is rediculous.

    Food. I know it's a trade show and everyone is meant to be rich but charging $12 for 1 can of soda and a sandwich that consists of A)2 slices of bread from Safeway and b)somthing that may be Tuna is a bit much.

    Parking. Either: a) Park near the convention for $25 - $30 or b) park for only $5 further out, but bring your hiking gear. You may also want to hire someone to guard your car.

    I'm sure if I was bored enough i could come up with more. E3 is still fun, but it seems like each year these problems have been getting worse. I honestly don't know if I will go next year due to crowds and noise level alone. It is that bad.
    • Good post. Food-blech, I can get a pop for cheap and get dinner when I get back to my hotel. Parking-Good thing im from outta state. Crowds-Get rid of those ebgames fools. They're not getting anything but free swag and space on the floor. Oh, and there are too many people who needed to shower.*gross* Noise-Tone it down, this isn't a competition!! Booth Babes-They're there because sex sells. If you've got a problem with nerdy guys groing the chicks, then tell them not too, but the girls have brains you know
    • Hot Dog Vendors (Score:2, Informative)

      by chazmo (738348)
      The best and cheapest food at E3 is right outside on the street, via the hot dog vendors with their little carts. I can honestly say, those are the best hot dogs I have ever had in my life.
  • by nathan s (719490) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:38PM (#13751775) Homepage
    The guy is basically whining because he isn't with a big enough press outfit to get VIP attention at the show. If he cares that much, maybe he should go work for one of those "big media companies that are buying up media companies" [my paraphrase] that he is crying about.

    While the complaints he has may well be legitimate, his suggestions are basically "what would make my job as a reporter easier" and less about what would make the show better, in my honest opinion.

    • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@kHORSEe ... minus herbivore> on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:16PM (#13752034) Homepage
      The whole point of E3 is to show off games to the media and to the retailers. That is the whole point of the article. It has strayed from it's purpose, mainly because so many unimportant people are now going that it is impossible to *do* your job, when that is the whole point of the show.

      Making his job as a reporter easier *would* be improving the show. It is not an amusement park, it is an expo.

      • It also gives developers a good chance to talk to people who work for a company. That may not be the primary intent, but it is quite a nice effect.
      • So if the show is JUST for the media and retailers why is it that anyone can register? On E3's website, it says you could have registered as either:
        An Exhibitor
        A Member of the Media
        An Attendee

        If it was truly for just media and retailers then it should be closed to the public. (No regular "Attendees")

        I'm not saying there aren't legitimate problems (population is always a problem) there but if he really wants to find out the latest and greate
        • If it was truly for just media and retailers then it should be closed to the public. (No regular "Attendees") The problem is that the people who run e3 have different incentives than the people who go there for business (or the people who buy booth space).
      • The whole point of E3 is to show off games to the media and to the retailers. That is the whole point of the article. It has strayed from it's purpose, mainly because so many unimportant people are now going that it is impossible to *do* your job, when that is the whole point of the show.

        Oh, please. If the guy thinks that's the point of a trade show, then he needs to grow up. For most people in the game industry, E3 is a chance to let off steam. And E3 is not for journalists; it's for the industry. Sure
    • The guy is basically whining because he isn't with a big enough press outfit to get VIP attention at the show.

      There is no such thing at E3 anymore.

      when someone who is working for a magazine that has been around since gaming was started can't get to a demo of a game because some snot nosed little shit who has a 2 day old website/blog is hogging the whole thing and the company is VERY eager to suck his dick and give him everything he want's because he has a website or blog!

      yet so does the publicati
  • Waaah!!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 09, 2005 @03:55PM (#13751887)
    WAAAH!!! I get to go to E3 but no one will talk to me because my website is some unknown crap site. Waah!

    Maybe these are valid complaints the guy has, but it comes off as some smalltime site guy complaining that he gets no love. That's way to easy for someone to dismiss (like I'm doing.)

    And his complaint that Microsoft and Sony and Nintendo should have their pre-E3 conferences in one place one right after the other is complete wishful thinking. If his website can't afford to dish out $35 for cab fare, maybe its time to find a new site to write for.
  • 3. Less "babes," more "games"

    damn. :(
  • PAX (Score:3, Insightful)

    by frankmu (68782) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @04:28PM (#13752114) Homepage
    i think penny-arcade's PAX will grow in popularity as E3 goes the way of Comdex. E3 is for industry, and most people just want to check out the latest games and hang with other gamers. PAX in the last couple of years have already outgrown the Bellevue, WA location, and is looking for a bigger site. i think people will start to focus on games rather than the marketing that seems to surround E3.
  • he's got some good opinions, and some misguided opinions. First, the good:

    Swagbaggers
    I agree 100% with this. I haven't been to E3, but I've been to enough medicine conventions to recognize these guys. They suck. I can't ask a single question because the bigshot guy is talking-up the Pfizer rep to get a coveted USB-keychain.

    I say that all demos should have a timer built in that kindly informs patrons that they've been playing for five minutes
    Another great idea. The demos are for demonstrating the game, not for beating levels 1-4.

    Now, the bad...

    Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo should all have their conference on the same day, at the same theater, one after another.
    I disagree. These presentations are arguably the most important company announcements (at least in MS and Sony's game divisions) that these multi-billion dollar companies will make for the next 365-or-so days. I say let them make it themed to their liking: slick metallic stages, colorful light stages, pyrotechnics, whatever they want. That's like saying all mp3 players should look exactly the same, but with their own features and content.

    If you draw an online comic strip, you don't need to communicate directly with the gaming industry.
    I'd much rather hear Gabe and Tycho's honest take on the industry than one of the bigwigs "I've-been-bought-like-a-whore" sites.

    Why not have a second E3, or similar show, take place on the east coast or perhaps in the Midwest?
    Why not have one every week, in each state?

    No "behind closed doors"-only content
    OK, this guy hates IGN and Gamespot. That's obvious. Well, maybe the reality is that he's jealous of them. I know IGN can be crappy sometimes, and not willing to take a stance and a huge game sucks (or a crappy game was actually fun), but the simple fact is, they're big, and gaminghorizon isn't. Shigero Miyamoto doesn't have room for a behind-the-scenes hands-on demo of the Revolution controller for everyone. Luckily, Miyamoto wants me to see it, so he got 1up, IGN and a few others a demo, so people like me would be more likely to see it.

    I'll buy a lobster dinner for anybody who can provide a reason why it'd be a bad idea for the first day of the E3 show floor to be open only to people with Media badges.
    How about Best Buy, wanting to see if Halo2 is going to sell "well" or "break all records" from the initial feel? How about other developers, who want to see the competition? It's a HUGE place, and making 1 of the 3 days as media-only cuts the others' days by 33%.

    • If Best Buy needs to decide whether or not to carry a game, they need one person to go look at it, and they don't need 3 whole days to do it. The article even says that since people wont like having a day stripped from them, they could add a fourth day since booths are all set up by Monday anyway.

      And for behind closed doors stuff, it's not so much about exclusive stuff like that, but any game that people think will be a big deal. If you wanted to see Doom 3 you had to wait in a 2-3 hour line, where they'd l
    • Why not have a second E3, or similar show, take place on the east coast or perhaps in the Midwest?
      Why not have one every week, in each state?


      I've actually seen his two show idea done to great effect in the music products industry (not CDs, but instruments.) We have a huge show in January, bigger than E3. We also have a smaller show in July. This year it was in Indianapolis. I couldn't imagine not having that summer session.
      I do agree with him on the sound. It's a problem out our shows too.
    • How about Best Buy, wanting to see if Halo2 is going to sell "well" or "break all records" from the initial feel? How about other developers, who want to see the competition? It's a HUGE place, and making 1 of the 3 days as media-only cuts the others' days by 33%.

      (Oh, cripes, a car analogy...) Have you ever seen the schedule for the North American International Auto Show? Every January, the entire automotive world converges on Cobo Hall in Detroit. (Yeah, Detroit in January. It sucks every bit as bad as

  • a quick correction. (Score:4, Informative)

    by mushroom blue (8836) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @05:04PM (#13752360)
    "swag" is the free crap you pick up at conventions and expositions.

    "schwag" is low-grade cannabis. usually seedy and only lasts for about 30 minutes at a time. otherwise known as brick weed or brown frown.
  • by Blackwulf (34848) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @05:35PM (#13752537) Homepage
    Ironically, E3's initial purpose was to allow the retailers to see what games were coming out, so they could determine how much shelf space, if any, should be given to the product. The media was just a side part of it in the beginning - the booths were really to impress the retailers into buying their product and putting their product in the stores.

    Now, that's changed. The retailers can't get any business done because the media swarms in thinking they should be VIP's and should have first access to all content. And that's why E3 seems to be getting worse every year - it's focus has been lost.

    I'd say that there should be a day where there's NO MEDIA allowed - only people legitemately in the industry that have business to attend to. (Not those who buy their way into an exhibits only pass, either.) And before anyone jumps down my throat, I'd be one of the people not allowed in the one day, so I sure as hell ain't saying it for MY benefit.
  • by Nikkos (544004) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @05:51PM (#13752653) Homepage
    All we've heard for years is how cool E3 is. It's got babes, games, and free stuff, not to mention parties everywhere.

    Apparently the Journalists who created the problem no longer want the average guy to go there and take their free stuff.
    • Just because it's been talked up, doesn't mean you should get to go. Talking it up makes the event more important though so you'll care more about their coverage.
      • It's an _open_ trade show.

        They want people there, they want word-of-mouth advertising.

        The newsies just need to STFU and accept the perks they already get, like private pre-E3 showings, and invite-only parties.
  • North American Auto Show [naias.com] has a few things that E3 can take cue from. Most comes from the schedule. The whole show runs Jan 8th - 22nd, BUT:

    Press Days Jan 8 - 10
    "You must have a NAIAS issued media credential to attend the show during Press Days."

    Industry Preview Days Jan 11 - 12
    "Industry Preview Days is an exclusive opportunity for companies in the automotive industry to invite their key contacts, suppliers and employees to preview one of the top auto shows in the world. This is the perfect time for companies to share in the excitement of the auto show before the official opening to the public."

    Charity Preview: Jan 13th 6p - 9p
    "17,500 people attended the 2005 Charity Preview, raising more than $7 million for 11 Detroit-area children's charities. Since its 1976 inception, the black tie event has raised over $58 million."

    Public Days: Jan 14 - 22
    Everyone can attend.

    Obviously this is a car show and E3 doesn't run this long (though it could run longer). But it separates the show for press, industry, and then allows the public to attended. It even puts some good back into the community with a $400/person fundraiser. Just some thoughts.

  • The problem with people going to conventions just to get free stuff isn't limited to E3. I think that happens everywhere. I've been to numerous other conventions (never E3) and the sales people are all about getting something out to the attendees that has their product name on it. The writer doesn't give a good reason why "swagbaggers" keep him from doing his job, he just complains and says he doesn't like them. Can't he still review the product without waiting in line for free stuff?

    He complains abo
  • Some Irony for You (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Farscry (674981) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @08:21PM (#13753360)
    Gaming Horizon seems rather hypocritical on several counts here:

    * "I say the ESA needs to take a butcher's knife to the attendance requirements. Unless somebody's occupation deals directly with the videogaming industry (assistant manager at a local GameStop deals indirectly with the industry), you shouldn't get through the doors."

    Ironically, I'd venture to guess that most of Gaming Horizon's "staffers" are probably not working for the site as their primary occupation. I'm too lazy to check, given all the other holes in their complaints.

    * "No love for the small Press"

    Ah, here's the crux of the previous argument; they just want to whine about how IGN, Gamespot, and the other major media sites get preferential treatment over them. Well, I may agree with them, but they should at least title the article "why we hate IGN/Gamespot/Etc.'s special treatment"

    * Sexploitation

    Oh, sorry GH, I saw the "special event" graphic at the top of your page with the "sexy gaming heroine" pin-up before the text even loaded on your article. So much for the integrity of your complaint on this count, eh?

    The rest of the article was ok, but that first page was a little hypocritical, particularly for my taste. ;)
  • by Rolman (120909) on Sunday October 09, 2005 @10:54PM (#13753984)
    I've been attending E3 every year for a very long time now, and there's certainly a change in the mindset of my fellow colleagues, coworkers and mostly every person who's been going there for more than 3-4 years. People in the industry, regardless of citizenship, don't really feel as excited as they did in the previous years. I've seen newcomers get to the end of their first show and leave slightly unimpressed with it overall.

    My boss, who attended every CES and E3 until 2000, and then didn't for 5 years in a row, this year he came back and said: "Oh boy! What a load of crap, there's nothing new! It just got louder and more crowded! Ah, yes, these are some nice graphics, right? (looking at Capcom's Ookami)", I don't think he's interested to be there come 2006, since it's far easier for him to set up appointments with the people he needs any other time of the year.

    Maybe I could say that the quality of the show has been gradually and consistently decading since 2000. I can cite many factors, but here are some off the top of my mind:

    1) Media Badges became soooo easy to get ever since the media explosion from the dot-com era.

    Just after Y2K, if you had a media outlet, even an insignificant me-too.com site, you could bring a lot of people with you. I'm not saying names, but there's a mildly popular Nintendo fansite that takes around 20 people to the show. That's right, TWENTY people (if not more) to the show, to cover just ONE of the three main consoles, and a couple of portables. Also remember that the media don't pay for their badges, like regular attendees and exhibitors would.

    I've nothing against these guys, but to expect all of them to be treated equally is ridiculous. Some years ago, getting food from the Media Hospitality service became like getting it from an UN truck at a famine-ridden country. I almost got kicked out of the show for HOLDING more than one lunch box while waiting for my friends, that's how bad it is.

    2) The industry in general became too mainstream for its own good.

    Yes, booth babes and swag are nice, T&A, T-shirs, keychains and all, but this is a trade show that has become overcrowded with freeloading geeks. Imagine a Natalie Portman convention with tens of thousands of /.ers, all chanting for free grits, and that's just the start. There's not nearly enough swag for all of them, not mentioning that the exhibitor/swag ratio has gone down the toilet since 1999 IIRC, because many companies (Microsoft among them) got smart and stopped giving stuff away, including press kits. Now they just give you an URL and rightfully save a million bucks in dead trees and CDs.

    But hey! It's all about the games, right? HA! Consider yourself lucky if you got to play Mario Kart DS or Zelda this year if you don't know someone inside Nintendo, ditto for other high-profile games from any other company. The waiting lines take sometimes up to three hours, and there were hundreds of titles this year waiting to be played, never mind the fact that there are now three main competitors and eight mainstream gaming platforms (2 MS, 2 Sony, 3 Nintendo and the PC). The tragedy is that you don't have enough time to see all the stuff you're interested in, so what do you do? You guessed right! Bring more people along and split up the tasks! Tasks like checking out the sequel-itis fest, of course, and leaving almost no time to dig for innovation. You can see it now, an endless vicious circle.

    I have really fond memories of the CES and the earlier E3 shows, having a great time with friends, playing nice, innovative games and having time to discuss at the end of the day with a beer in hand. But now I just get excited with anticipation a few days before the show and the hype dies a lot sooner every year. I think it's like being a drug addict with a growing addiction and getting a smaller dose every time.
  • E3 *always* had looky-loos, swagbaggers, booth babes, and loud music. Maybe the writer romanticized the idea of E3, and the reality didn't fit his perception, but I've been to every E3, except for the Atlanta one, and even a few CESes before that, and I can assure him it's remained unchanged, except that the crowds are larger now(b/c the industry is larger). In fact, I remember the early Acclaim booths being even louder than EA's or Capcom's current booths. And strangely, I remember *more* booth babes at
    • I amost totally agree except on the point of swagbaggers, who I think have made up a much larger pecentage of the growing attendence. And that factor alone is enough to look back and think that it *was* a lot better.
  • E3 is a very important event for game developers. It's one of the few times when you can pitch an idea to every publisher you want at once. It's an ideal time to forge a new business relationship because the overhead of the meeting (airfare, etc...) can be spread out.

    As for the back-room only stuff, that is DESIGNED to keep out the small press because they tend to be less valuable and distracting. E3 is all about exposure - to the retailers and to the big press. Small press doesn't give enough exposure and
    • --besides, they can be whiny.

      Seriously, this is not the first anti-E3 piece aired on slashdot. Parent's post is dead on -- developers shop their wares all the time at E3. And, well, the small press gets short shrift because, well, there's a hierarchy out there. Sending Best Buy clerks to E3 may seem stupid to someone in the press, but from a developer/publisher perspective, it makes sense: marketing is no longer about a few magazines; there are "smaller publishers", such as websites featuring 19-year-old j
  • IMO Gaming Horizon are not worth the phosphor they're written on.

    Their reviewers don't seem bothered to actually review the games.

    I've called them (via their forums) on a Multiplayer based game that they reviewer without even firing up the multiplayer side of the game! Thats akin to reviewing Counterstrike by playing it against bots. The reviewer wasnt interesteded, and because abusive. Other GH staff joined in defending them.

    Not worth wasting your time on. Since I spotted that ommision I've never gone back
  • This is actually not the first editorial I've read complaining about E3. I don't disagree -- There should be a Media day. But I don't agree with the bitter jabs he takes at legitimate media outlets. That just reeks of unprofessionalism itself. Seriously. They get paid to do their work, and you volunteer time and occasionally get a free game. That doesn't grant you entitlement. That's *barely* legit media. I've never even heard of these folks before, and apparently Alexa doesn't know them too well either.
  • It is the media that has made E3 such the bother that it has become. I have been forced to attend E3 for 7+ years. It is a circus. Over the years I have completely given up on trying to have any kind of productive meeting at the show and have just played meet and greet to set-up business meetings for the weeks following. Seeing some of the new titles is exciting, but dampened by the fact that you have to push and shove your way thru thousands of press who act like they have an exclusive right to be in a
  • I've been to E3 once and I wasn't nearly as impressed as I thought I'd be... In all reality you can get to just about every booth and check everything out in a day-day and a half.

    As E3 serves many purposes I kind of like the idea of having only certain people on certain days. On the first day I'd only allow "real" industry people, ie developers/publishers...not retail people ;) So strictly business can occur on that first day, and I suppose let the media/news types in that day too. Then on the second day
    • Addendum: Celebrities and whatnot would have to wait for the second day as well ;)
    • the problem this idea leaves is the demo-hoggers, swagbaggers, and people who this writer wants to distance himself from taking up all the time and not having enough time to go about their generally surly ways. if you want to split the first several days up like that, maybe you could extend the final few days to allow more of the 'regular joes' who go to actually enjoy e3, learn something and make a few informed decisions, and not rip and run trying to see it all.

      you nor the author may like them much, but t
  • This guy went to E3 when he was 18, because he worked for a TINY news outlet, and he wants the show to conform to HIM?!?

    Here's a thought - sell tickets for the opening day to the public. Make the next 2 days private - the first for retailers, the second for journalists (along with other corporate-shill scum.)

  • I'll not be surprised if many people disagree with me on this one but I agree with the anti-booth babe sentiment. It makes people involved in the game industry look like a bunch of pubscent teenage males still wondering what it'll be like to actually have sex. Moreover the herds of dudes waiting in line to have a picture taken with aformentioned booth babes makes every gamer look even worse. They add nothing to these conventions and only remove credibility from the gaming industry.

    Besides a porn conventi
  • As someone who actually works in the video game industry making the games, I think it's very safe to say that there are too many people at the show. Every time I go, I think "all these people can't work in the industry". It is way to crowded. Truthfully, I'm not really even sure why I'm there. I'm a programmer, I don't need to see all the new games and get free shirts. I guess I wear our company shirt, and that's a tiny bit of publicity for my company.

    All things considered, I'm glad I got to go the f

  • This guy has no idea what he's talking about. 1. The line to the Nintendo booth, although it said 3 hours, was only about 45 minutes. 2. He claims the line was to view a trailer, hoewever IF HE HAD WAITED IN LINE, he would know that Nintendo had a PLAYABLE VERSION of the new Zelda game. with 3 PLAYABLE SCENES. 3. Those playable scenes were TIME LIMITED, as he suggests in his article. If this guy is a "game journalist", but can't be bothered to wait in line with the shlubs, then maybe he's the one that
  • E3 has ALWAYS been like this, this idiot must think that there was some 'golden age' or something. So there are too many ppl to let him do his job, boo hoo. What he doesn't tell you is that these days with video conferencing, broadband distribution of demos and extensive online access to material no one really needs to go to E3 to do their job. I have been covering E3 extensively for the last three years, from my house in Bondi Beach! Wanker
  • I can sum the whole aticle up in one sentence:

    The author is upset at how crowded E3 is, and wants to keep out people from illegitimate game media outlets (read: game websites other than the big gaming networks his own little website), while simultaneously granting better access to closed-door sessions and insider information to little websites like his own so they can compete with the big gaming networks.

    Essentially the article is a bunch of self-important whining about how the big companies at E3 should

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