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Changes E3 needs

posted on July 31st, 2006 by jay

The ESA is currently retooling the E3 trade show. Publishers have complained that the show focuses too much on video games, which means the thousands of dollars they spend on presentation are largely wasted. Knowing this, we can only assume the ESA is recalibrating the trade show in order to shift focus towards what really matters — the spectacle.

The first and most important change to E3 has to be a relaxing of the entry system. Too few outsiders are allowed on the floor and this is a major blow to the atmosphere. What is spectacle without hoards of people? The arbitrary entry restrictions also make it difficult for professionals to enjoy their time spent watching stage shows. Last year I found it very difficult to satisfy myself in the bathroom every 30 minutes whilst trying to take notes on which companies hired the hottest models. If I were able to bring my secretarial staff next year, I could excuse myself to the men’s room and still fulfill my role as a professional journalist.

Spectacle also depends largely on the quality of stage shows publishers are putting on. The first step towards improving the shows is to kick all of those poor, unsuccessful developers out of the convention center. Instead of the main room being primarily a standoff between the big three companies, why not allow the company with the largest bank account to take the whole room and put on the finest stage show E3 has ever seen? The basement and empty hallways, now devoid of those worthless independent developers, can be used for the remaining big two’s stage shows.

This stage show isn’t that bad, but it’d be much better with explosions.

Past stage shows have focused on sexuality, though they were often disguised as somehow game related. Any focus on games is wasted effort, but these old stage shows still had the right idea. Instead of games, though, how amazing would a focus on violence make the stage shows? Imagine the Tecmo strippers pole dancing to a heavy techno beat as grenades explode over head. Now that is a trade show.

But why stop at strippers? The few remaining game demo booths should be outfitted with glory holes. “Getting to LA was a bitch. Come, play our game. Come.” or “Tired of traveling? Step up to PC Real Time Strategy War Game 17 and take a load off.”

The final step to creating the perfect E3 is to make the show louder and darker. I’m tired of being able to almost hear booth babes threaten legal action. Not being able to hear my own thoughts or see three feet in front of me would make E3 totally immersive. Dimming the lights would allow publishers to save money by hiring ugly strippers and is also more earth friendly.

The ESA have yet to publicly announce how they are changing E3, but it is safe to say that most if not all of these predicted changes will be included.

7 Comments

  1. GoldenJew said on July 31, 2006:

    Trite!  Pandering to the uneducated masses!  Really Jay, I’m disappointed.

    This is really about bang for the buck.  As with any trade show, the
    spectacle starts to outweigh the value of the event itself.  All the work,
    as beaten to death by the articles, occurs behind closed doors.  This is
    OK– this is how business is done, everywhere. 
    Your key decision makers are only about 5% of any company or event and
    are meeting together in their rooms with cigars and cognac to determine the
    fate of the world.

    The issue really is that all of the developers, big and small, are dumping a
    lot of money into this event: for a big developer, it’s tens of millions, for a
    small one, it might be tens of thousands, but per capita, it probably works out
    to be the same: work stops for months and money is spent, when you’d rather be
    making video games.  And now the industry is questioning why: what with
    the invasion of every gamestop employee or guy with a website can get in,
    with very little value to the developer to be on the conference floor.  It’s a big public wankfest instead of a legitimate
    tradeshow.

    Still, because their competitors are doing it, there is no choice for
    companies but to have stages/strippers/live skateboarding (Tony Hawk
    rules!).  All of the work is being done behind closed doors still, but
    there is a cover charge of millions of dollars to get that done.  What you have is essentially an entertainment
    arms race that has caused the whole event to spiral out of control in terms of
    costs and energy spent.  Imagine the catastrophic results if any of the
    big three or major developers pulled out completely: everyone would assume it
    was because their games suck, not because they were tired of wasting time and
    money.  If ESA steps in, it saves the
    entire industry a great deal of time, money, and face, because it’s a third
    party.  I’d throw a conspiracy theory out
    that this ESA decision was well backed by every major sponsor of the show… and
    then wonder if ESA wasn’t losing money to voluntarily scale back the whole
    thing.  

    The down side, of course, is all of us geeks who loved
    going for the spectacle, but that’s really an exercise in vanity.  Sure, if you’re lucky enough to have
    consistently attended you’ll miss it.  It’s
    got tons of free video games, scantily clad women, and free stuff: it’s really
    quite amazing and fun.  But the truth is,
    99% of gamers don’t get to go, so it’s stupid that those who are internet
    blog/cartoon/review celebrities put their own needs first.  If the industry feels that it’s time and money
    better spent on serving the customer through more time on developing
    more/better video games, then more power to them.  The idealist in me would like to think that a reduction
    of E3 chaos will mean we’ll see better video games because of a refocusing on
    the consumer.  The realist in me says the
    elite who get into the show (myself included, being a GoldenJew, that’s how I roll)
    will just miss the fun and parties that we’ve come to expect every May, and
    video games will remain the same.   

  2. Christian said on July 31, 2006:

    Is Golden Jew immune to satire, or is this his own brilliant reply? :p 

  3. jay said on July 31, 2006:

    I’m not sure. It does look like he insulted the article before he went on to agree with me on mostly everything.

  4. GoldenJew said on August 1, 2006:

    GoldenJew Racial Traits: Satire: -75%Self Importance: +100%Monetary Transactions: +50%Wang size: +50% 

  5. fr0g said on August 1, 2006:

    I enjoy looking at breasts.  I enjoy looking at video games that are going to come out in 45 years.  Therefore I think I would enjoy E3. 
    Though I always wondered why it was an Electronics Festival, and you rarely hear anything about the new surround sound system or DVD players coming out.

  6. Christian said on August 1, 2006:

    Fr0g:  You know, you got a point.  Yes, the name of the show is the Electronic Entertainment Expo, but aren’t DVDs and whatnot entertainment.  True, its always been games and nothing more, but the name’s a bit misleading.

  7. GoldenJew said on August 1, 2006:

    Fascinating tidbit at Penny Arcade (aka Jay’s favorite website)– now, with E3 gone, their PAX conference is positioned to become the massive exhibition geekfest leader.  Probably the best thing that’ll ever happen to the PA guys careers.   

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