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Did E3 Just Gasp Its Last Breath? 142

Posted by timothy
from the my-last-breath-will-be-a-sigh dept.
Ian Lamont writes "This year's E3 is over, and there's already talk that this could be the last one. Even before the conference started, a slew of studios announced they wouldn't be taking part, citing high costs and other 'business reasons.' At the conference itself, 'there were no huge game announcements, and Microsoft didn't even bother having Bungie show up to talk about the next Halo release, claiming that the company wanted to "shorten the presentation."' Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello said he 'hated' E3's new format, adding 'either we need to go back to the old E3, or we'll have to have our own private events.' Crave also noted there are no solid plans for next year's show. On the other hand, people have predicted E3's demise in previous years, and they turned out to be wrong."
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Did E3 Just Gasp Its Last Breath?

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  • by Kumoe (1234022) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @07:22AM (#24260987)
    So will this make the User-created conventions (eg PAX) more attractive to the gaming companies? They seem to want to be more willing to engage the customer-base where they are comfortable, so hopefully they will start to make these events more accessible.
  • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @07:42AM (#24261075)

    This was an exceptionally insightful comment made on Voodoo Extreme that I am reposting, with full credit to the author. It hits the nail on the head, so to speak.


    Its become what it should have always been in the first place, an industry trade show. What it turned into before they switched the format was just a nightmare. A huge convention center packed with millions of sweaty nerds all clamoring to see an actual GIRL who is playing a VIDEOGAME. OMGOMG. It wasn't a trade show, it was just a marketing free for all.

    And of course the execs don't like it. They got to feel like they were rockstars before, watching guys with huge guts packed underneath Star Wars parody t-shirts salivate for their crappy port of Unoriginal Game 9. At the current E3, they have to act like actual business people, and answer actual questions.

  • Format is unworkable (Score:5, Interesting)

    by abigsmurf (919188) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:06AM (#24261165)
    This was an awful E3 plain and simple.

    Microsoft probably had the best show of the three big companies purely for the FFXIII coup (biggest announcement of the show was a port. That about sums it up) but still took a few hits on it's blatent ripping off of Eyetoy and Mii's. Not to mention the pulling back of the Bungie announcement which was a smack in the face to fans. Overall though they same out slightly stronger than they went in.

    Sony's was mediocre. Most the time they talked about games we knew were coming and the new announcements were only pre-rendered footage. They came out the same as they went in.

    Then there's Nintendo. They couldn't have chosen a worse strategy if they'd tried. The Wiimote add on was interesting but they showed it off with yet another mini-game collection. The Wii is hardly lacking in these. Worse still, Wii music was unvieled and shown to be a pretty rubbish toy that looks like it'll be fun for 5 minutes at most before you never play it again. Animal Crossing was a reasonable unveiling but everyone knew it was coming and it was just too similar to the GC and DS versions with no innovation other than a well designed mic (that apparently is great for picking up voices across the room.

    Nintendo fans were promised hard core games to fill the empty schedule up till xmas and we get more of the same crap we've been seeing from lazy third party publishers and Animal Crossing. Nintendo have serously alienated a good portion of their gamer fans and lots of people will either have their console gathering dust for a long time now or simply flog their console.

    Overall E3 should get gamers excited but all this show has done is make them bored and that can't be healthy for the industry.

    Sure it may have only cost them $500,000 rather than $2,000,000 for a stand but what good is that if you get very poor PR and make people wonder why they have your console over another.

    Hopefully they'll pull something out for Leipzig or else it looks like we'll have to wait till TGS for reasonably exciting announcements.

  • It's different now. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grey Ninja (739021) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:08AM (#24261185) Homepage Journal
    A few years ago, I would have killed to go to E3. But I was but a humble student, with no game industry affiliations, and more importantly... broke.

    Since then, I've graduated and become an actual developer. I go to two events a year. PAX and GDC. E3 is obviously something I could go to, and I might if I was in the area. But it doesn't have much draw for me anymore. And I could honestly care less about the booth babes. I want actual content, and E3 isn't even a shadow of what it once was. That would be PAX. I get PAX for the consumery-side of me, and I get GDC for the professional side. There's no place for E3 anymore.
  • all it will take (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thermian (1267986) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:08AM (#24261195)

    This year there were reduced presentations, next year, it may be that many big companies don't go at all, so visitor attendance will reduce.

    That'll be what kills it when it dies, because the attendee's won't think the price worth paying if too many major players aren't coming.

    Since they will have to find somewhere to showcase their products if it does die, there will either be a new event created, or they will find some other way of achieving the same goal.

    Personally I'd like to see smaller events round the globe. Speaking as a brit who doesn't like travelling into the prison state any more, I can't see myself attending any large events which are US only.

  • Re:Old Vs. New (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rsmith-mac (639075) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:45AM (#24261373)

    Here here! This year's E3 was a success in working as it was designed. Restricted crowds meant that journalists and buyers could easily see (and try!) everything they needed to, and unlike last year everything was located close-by so that people weren't so spread apart. For an event that's about the quick & effective dissemination of information, this year was marked by... the quick & effective dissemination of information.

    The only problem with this year's event was that there was very little to show. The few publishers that had stuff were tempted to throw their own events so that they could hog the spotlight for the day, and everyone else is mid-development cycle after the hulking mass of games released in 2007. The fact that publishers didn't have much to show off and everyone was accordingly unexcited has nothing to do with E3, that's a matter of poor planning on their part.

  • Re:Old Vs. New (Score:5, Interesting)

    by N3Bruce (154308) <n3lsy@comcast . n et> on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:47AM (#24261383) Journal

    Ever go to a Motorcycle show? Seriously, they are crawling with scantily clad females, along with lots and lots of outrageous costumes, posters, and artwork on the bikes themselves. Heck, I wonder if say the makers of GTA or the like wouldn't do well to get a booth at one of these events.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 20, 2008 @09:28AM (#24261623)

    I've never been to E3, and am just a game player that checks up on the info coming out of it at various websites. In all honesty, from my end of the spectrum I didn't really see anything majorly different. The only thing lacking was the announcements of "games so epic they'll blow your head off just thinking about them, but they won't be playable for another five years!" I really think if anything could be said about this E3 being slow, is mostly that this is just a slower point in gaming where 90% of the stuff that is coming out next year is already expected and has been well talked about. Of course, maybe that's the problem with E3 - the fact that it always seems to be, "Here's everything you've read about us making on the internet in the last 6 months summed up in a tidy presentation!" Sometimes there's a surprise or two, but this year was pretty basic. Ohh well, I'll still look forward to another E3.

  • Re:Old Vs. New (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LS (57954) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @10:26AM (#24262035) Homepage

    The industry still has a lot of growing up to do.

    The nature of the discipline of game development is that it requires creativity, and creativity and eccentricity/immaturity often go hand in hand.

  • Re:all it will take (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 8tim8 (623968) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @01:22PM (#24263763) Journal

    >Since they will have to find somewhere to showcase their products if it does die, there will either be a new event created, or they will find some other way of achieving the same goal.

    From what I've read here and elsewhere, the point is that E3 is dying because there are zillions of other places to hype a new game. E3 represents a significant expense for companies: they have to rent the booth space, fly people in, house them, etc., and they get zero dollars of productive time from their workers during E3. At the same time, they have to compete with every other company at E3 for space and peoples' attention.

    Alternately, a company can throw a new preview vid up on the web for almost nothing, or they can interest a blogger or review site in interviewing one of their superstar programmers about their exciting new game, and they can do all of this at a time when they get all the attention themselves.

    It sounds like the uber-hype event that was E3 was killed by the internet.

  • Re:Old Vs. New (Score:3, Interesting)

    by iocat (572367) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @03:57PM (#24265155) Homepage Journal
    Clearly, you haven't been to SEMA... Anyway, as someone who's attended all 14 E3s ('95 - '08 inclusive), I can say that the "Booth Babes" as a concept were way over-rated, over-discussed, and over-focused upon by people who'd never attended the show. There were always a few booths that had some skantily clad women in them, but generally only for stage shows, which also featured scantily clad dudes, and people in costumes. Not much different from any stage show. A few people tried to raise some publicity by dressing their models pretty slutty, but mostly the models (which everyone hired) dressed reasonably demurly. Just about any trade show hires models to work the booth; marketing staffs just aren't big enough (especially as they need to be talking to the press, etc). So, for instance, all those fresh-faced, modestly-dressed young women helping you play Nintendo games in the old days were, in fact, "booth babes." Not too scandalous!

    Anyway, from a fan perspective, this E3 was pretty depressing (although better than last year). No pagentry, no mega-booths, just a tiny show floor and a convention center that was depressingly empty. For work, however, it couldn't have been better! Tons of meetings, tons of running into people, and no lines at any of the kiosks or games. The new WBIE shooter PROJECT ORIGIN looks freaking amazing, as does the new Animal Crossing, and Major Minor, the new game from the Parappa Team. Other standouts were Ninja Town or Ninja Land (desktop tower defense with Ninjas), and some of the indie stuff.

  • Re:Old Vs. New (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cadallin (863437) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @11:17PM (#24268923)
    Yeah, what about the various Erotic Industry Expos? And seriously, you're also ignoring tons of other industries where the equivalent of "booth babes" is a major tradition. Motorsports, Cars, Motorcycles, ATVs, etc? But you want to be "higher brow" than that stuff? Why? What does that even mean?

    This is just the most horrible legacy of the Victorian era. "In order to be legitimately intellectual, you have to be chaste and restrained." Horse shit, and further, geeks ought to damn well know better. All that legitimate, intellectual Sci-Fi and Fantasy geekdom is associated with? Gee, no deviant or open sexuality there. No sir.

    Oh yeah, except that's one of both Sci-Fi's and Fantasy's major features! Do I even need to justify this? Come on! Robert "Nudist, Promiscuous, Free Love" Heinlein? David "Chimpanzee Strippers" Brin? I can keep going all night folks, those are just two examples from different eras of Sci-Fi. Now, except for a smaller number of respected authors (because let's face it, the line between low-brow fantasy and straight up "Romance" novels is pretty thin), Fantasy has suffered from the blight of Tolkien's legacy, and that sad old fart was a totally misplaced Victorian.

    The further and further I get from being prepubescent, the lower and lower my estimation of Tolkien falls. The totally neutered picture of middle earth he paints is really depressing, or alternatively, hilariously homosexual (twelve male dwarves and a histrionic male hobbit - let the innuendo begin). Nobody in his world ever gets to have a non-tragic, positive sexual relationship. Its terribly sad. Why shouldn't there be wild (but female positive, intellectually and emotionally gratifying) wild Elf sex (or wild human-elf sex for that matter) the same way we get human sexuality portrayed in Stranger in A Strange Land? Of course we do, but its rarely handled by writers we actually want to put pen to paper.

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