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Games Entertainment

Do Trade Shows Benefit Gamers? 30

Thanks to The Adrenaline Vault for its article discussing the actual significance of videogame trade shows, now that "e-mail, Internet press releases, cell phones, faxes, personal digital assistants and the like make communication and transmission of information virtually instantaneous among developers and vendors." The piece makes the suggestion, with regard to "trade shows like Comdex, CES and E3", that: "In earlier days, people were attracted to attend the national conventions because of all the novelty present. Now, new software and hardware products seem more evolutionary than revolutionary, with a lot of copycat items that differ from what is already out there just through cosmetic differentiation." Do shows like E3 matter as much as they used to?
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Do Trade Shows Benefit Gamers?

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  • by foidulus ( 743482 ) * on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @08:13AM (#9758349)
    probably helps to make them more irrelevant. Before, I had to scour high and low for scant screenshots or game info. Now all I need to do is head on over to one of the multitude of game sites and I can get more info/screenshots/previews than I could ever use.
    Kind of makes going to the shows a lot less thrilling, I already know what will be there.
    Of course, the booth babes still could make it worthwhile!
    • In this same vein, E3 gets the game magazine writers excited, which spills into their writing, which gets the gamers excited. Its all about getting your message and hyping up the gaming community. That's what sells games.
      • Not to mention the trend over the past 2-3 years of gamers themselves actively discussing what they think will happen/what they want to see/what they're looking forward to hearing about during and after each E3. Following E3 2003, I saw a high instance of gamers online discussing what they've seen and what was reported. This year, I saw a high instance of those same gamers anticipating what games (and industry trends - as they related to consumer products such as Xbox 2) they were going to learn about fro
  • It depends on the show.... Some of the shows are all about the business and are targeted at the real customers for games: software retailers and game distributors. These shows are fun and entertaining and business gets done.

    The shows targeted at players generally are not useful because only the product marketing people are there and no real business gets done.
  • Yes, yes they do. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Demon-Xanth ( 100910 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @08:51AM (#9758620)
    Having actually been to E3 in 2001, I can say that they definately make a difference because they show what exists and what should be given top priority. Looking at the GBA with picture didn't do much for me, but actually seeing it in action impressed me. I was able to get a feel for each of the now 3 major consoles. Smaller manufacturers can get thier products displayed in a place where it can make an impact if it's worth making an impact.
  • One Reason (Score:4, Informative)

    by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @08:51AM (#9758621) Homepage Journal
    The only reason E3 matters is because it is a set time for when all the video game companies save announcements for. If game companies made announcements as they come it wouldn't nearly be as suspenseful, hyped, etc.

    What they do is they make a pile of secret new games and systems and all that jazz. Then when E3 comes around, bang! they show you all at once. You have lots of anticipation prior to the event and lots of talk generated during and after the event.

    If the announcements of new games were spread out they wouldn't have as much oomph in their announcement. Of couse this has harms too. Smaller games get lost in the folds of E3. The big companies make such big announcements, and that makes otherwise huge ones from small companies look small.

    I'm a CS guy. I'm going to buy the same games no matter what any of these companies do at trade shows or otherwise. So let the marketing guys do whatever they want.
  • Don't Dis The Messe! (Score:2, Informative)

    by torpor ( 458 )
    In my industry (musical instruments), we have two pretty important trade shows each year: Frankfurt Musik Messe, and NAMM. Messe is in Germany, NAMM in SoCal (sometimes LA, sometimes OC).

    Lately - over the last 4 years or so - I have noticed that these events are less and less important from the perspective of 'promotion/marketing to your market', and more and more important from the perspective of 'have a good time with the industry, party a little'.

    What would be ideal is a little bit of Synth-DIY [], some
  • Does it matter? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MMaestro ( 585010 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @09:22AM (#9758844)
    In a nutshell, no. Does it matter in terms of convincing major retailers or stockholders whether to support a company? Yes. Does it matter to gamers who will never attend E3, will have to read 3 different sources to get all the info, and will have to surf 4 different websites for different video clips? No.

    E3 used to be all about 'the games for gamers' but between Sony's move to make video game consoles the center of entertainment systems and the 'maturity' of gamers (thats debateable), E3 turned into an endless mass of unsorted, mostly behind closed doors media event.

    • Excuse me? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @10:06AM (#9759210)
      E3 used to be for gamers? Where the hell did you get that from? In all of E3's history, they were NEVER open to the public. E3 has never been about wooing gamers. You just can't build a successful business or product just by catering to the few thousand who attend a trade show if they were just gamers. E3 is about wooing *retailers* so that they will stock your product in the coming christmas season (and beyond). E3 is about wooing the press so that they will talk about your product. These people affect a company's sales in huge multiples. Individual gamers on the other hand will maybe buy one copy, so they are hardly the target of this show.

      It's the press that have really glorified the tradeshow beyond its original intentions. Back before E3, games were unveiled at CES (Consumer Electronics Show). You'd find some magazine coverage of this show, but it was much more low-key, so fewer people in the general public really paid attention.

      Now, you get all this over-hyped "wowie zowie" type of coverage of the show, with trailers being released and television shows going in and showing us what's there, etc,etc. Blame the media for making E3 seem to be something bigger than what it is.
      • Re:Excuse me? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by MMaestro ( 585010 )
        Correct me if I'm wrong, but was it not the same media and retailers who used to scoff at Nintendo and video games as 'just for kids' back in the 80's? I distinctly remember video stores and kids toy stores rivaling those of so-called 'video game stores' back then.

        Just because it was 'low-key' doesn't mean it wasn't geared toward the public, it could've meant that no one took them seriously at the time and now they're riding the way of video games being a multimillion dollar business. By your logic booth b

        • I remember the 8 bit Nintendo system being launched at CES one of the years I went there - a definite trade show, where you had to show at least a business card to prove (or fake) that you were some kind of retailer or manufacturer. The existence of booth babes makes perfect sense at a trade show. If some buyer for a big chain store is trying to decide which game to buy 80,000 copies of, do you think the publishers WOULDN'T try to throw booth-babes, neon, after-show parties with free food & booze, etc
  • by EvilJohn ( 17821 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @10:18AM (#9759311) Homepage
    ... but our show does. It's why we do it, for gamers. []
  • by DaFlusha ( 224762 ) <> on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @10:31AM (#9759428) Homepage
    E3 provides a single, physical place where people developers, publishers, distributors, retailers, and even press can meet face-to-face and have discussions. This kind of thing is invaluabe to the industry. The whole public-spectacle thing may be outdated (it is, in fact, my least favorite part of these events) but events like E3 are still 100% necessary for the growth of the industry.

    That and a lot of developers spend all their time making their own games; they're too busy to really follow every game in development via the Internet. E3 is a great way for developers to see what other folks are doing and to kind of, you know, party a little. Though in my opinion, the Game Developers Conference is a better place for that than E3...
  • by LordZardoz ( 155141 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @12:10PM (#9760343)
    It was for the Game Developers, Publishers, and Press.

    E3 is not about getting gamers on board with the latest products. It never was, and for that point, is barely needed. What it is about is giving a chance for developers to get publishers to look at their games that they would never otherwise get. It is about getting the suits with money to figure out where to spend that money.

    Also, it allows the press a chance to play two games likely to compete against one another and figure out which is more fun.

    And it lets game programmers like me figure out what the hell everyone else is doing so we can try to do the same, only better.

  • by Zode ( 102995 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @12:48PM (#9760929) Homepage
    It may be the only time most game developers ever get to see an actual girl in real life.
  • No they dont. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by carndearg ( 696084 ) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @01:20PM (#9761275) Homepage Journal
    For most of the 1990s I and my employers made the yearly pilgrimage to ECTS [], the UK's main games industry trade show.

    I've never been to E3 etc so I can only speak for ECTS, but in this case it is strictly a trade show. I'm sure some enthusiasts manage to get tickets, in fact one year I got myself a press pass by claiming to report for a games news web site(Mmm, free coffee and biscuits..:), but this is the exception not the rule. This could be affected by the kind of companies I worked for but in my view ECTS was more about narcisistic industry management showing off than doing business itself.

  • The purpose of giant shows like these has waned in the high tech sector.

    With the advent of the internet, their main purpose, free t-shirts can be had for the price of a witty slogan. Since the target audience is on the more technical side, those who care can get more off the website.

    Companies can hold their own release parties if they so desire to launch products.

    Witness Comdex being canceled this year.
  • As many have already said the main purpose of these shows has always been about the developers and publishers selling thier product to the retailers and press. However, it was always a major secondary factor that the consumers (read gamers) would get alot of exciting info from them too. In the past a CES show or E3 or whatever would show off exciting new gadgets and games, but now if you've watched for the last 10 years of E3, that secondary part is almost obsolete. There are hardly any suprises anymore. 99

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