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E3: The party's over

It looks like my first E3 was my last -- not to mention everybody's last. Joystiq has the shocking news:

Doug Lowenstein, the president of the Entertainment Software Association is expected to announce within the next 48 hours that E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the definitive video games show, has been cancelled. Industry sources have told Next-Gen that the reasoning behind this move is primarily one of cost versus return. Publishers aren't getting the media attention that they expect from the large amounts of cash that they're putting down to exhibit at the show.

Good Lord. I feel like Santa just called off Christmas. Is the industry trying to tell us they have better things to spend their money on than giant multi-million dollar booths, bikini-clad models and goofy chotchkes, all on noisy display for the edification of sweaty game journalists. Sure, they'll replace it with some pale shadow of the real thing, but E3 was about spectacle. Glorious, glowing spectacle, where corporate giants sqared off in the public relations equivalent of a Roman circus. The pressure was always on to top not only the other exhibitors, but last year's show. Ultimately, that pressure led to this sad truce. It might make economic sense, but it's hard not to feel like a major part of our shared fanboy culture died today.

As an Xbox 360 fanboy, I want to know what role Microsoft played in the decision to scale back E3 until it's not E3, thereby breaking the hearts of millions of 14-year-olds and millions more 30-year-olds who wish they were 14. I understand that that the big guys don't want to have to compete for attention. But the competition -- the grand stage -- is what created so much excitement in the first place.

It's the end of an era.

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Reader Comments

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1. That's the biggest pile of crap ever. For the past couple of years, my friends and I have tried making plans to go to an E3 as a road trip, since we live in Canada. Now I found out about this, I'm seriously pissed off.

Posted at 6:24PM on Jul 30th 2006 by Big Boi 0 stars

2. I find it hard to believe, I always looked forward to the enormous amount of news that came around at E3. Say it ain't so.

Posted at 6:28PM on Jul 30th 2006 by Lazrius 0 stars

3. Nooooo :(

Posted at 6:45PM on Jul 30th 2006 by Adam 0 stars

4. I was extremely surprised to hear about this, especially since E3 has been a staple to the gaming industry for more than 10 years now and has been gaming's most popular event. Everyone goes nuts over this show, magazines, news sites, bloggers, gamers, and even the gaming companies (remember that E3 05 brang a record amount of downloads to Xbox Live Marketplace, slowed it to a crawl even). If this is true, it will be very sad to see E3 go and it will hurt the game industry abit.

But last years E3 did show some major problems with the show. For example, many press members complained of the cramped space, the loud music, the bright lights, etc. Pretty much for the last several years, E3 has almost been more about impressing the attendees with booth effects rather than actually the important thing of why E3 even existed, showing the games. Maybe if they cut down all the costs for setting up these fancy booths and stop trying to hard to impress people with the booth, and instead impress people with the games, then things would be allot better there. Just have booths advertising what its for, not big TVs with bright lights and loud music.

But there hasn't been a real official press release about this yet, so right now the best we can do is take this lightly. Because who knows if this is just a rumor or something, because rumors have blown up to be this big of a deal many, many times...

Posted at 6:49PM on Jul 30th 2006 by DA360 2 stars


Posted at 7:28PM on Jul 30th 2006 by xINTENSORx 0 stars

6. Well, I figured out that Game Spot was correct, the official press release is that their NOT cancelling E3, but their downscaling it from a "mega-show" that we've known it for years as to a smaller, more typical trade show, like how it was when E3 first started. It will still be important, but it will no longer require huge spaces, giant booths that have loud sounds and bright lights and other effects, "booth babes", and whatnot (which all of this costs these companies a TON of money), and won't be overcrowded with tons of people (all of this was a MAJOR compliant by the attendees at E3 2006, which is probably why the ESA decided to do this). Also, developers who are presenting their games at E3 won't be pressured to rush a playable E3 build, which will effect the overall game since that part will now be a "rushed" part of the game, which will overall make the final game essentially worse in some way.

The ESA feels the show is much better off this way and it also opens up the big three to have their own shows again like they did in the past, such as MS's X shows (probably will be a X07 next year with now things are), Nintendo's "Space World" shows, and whatnot.

Posted at 5:04PM on Jul 31st 2006 by DA360 2 stars

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