The Electronic Entertainment Expo, known to gamers everywhere as E3, is the dream of any hardcore video gamer. For over a decade, the gaming industry has congregated during E3, showcasing their hottest games, debuting their newest games, and deluging any gamer with an ear to the ground with more info on video games than they could possibly process. While E3 has always been the time for new gaming information, it has also been known as a little melodramatic and showy, with giant gaudy booths, scantily clad booth babes, and more atmosphere than air. All of this came to a close after last's year E3, when many companies banded together to reform the gaming expo, making it much smaller and more focused. However, is this new E3 better for the gaming industry? Will this be the first step towards making gaming a more respected business? Or is this just a ploy to take the fun out of gaming?
With the new E3 right around the corner, Cheat Code Central reflects on the changes and if they will affect the industry for better or worse.
D'Marcus Beatty, Co-Site Director
As an avid gamer, E3 has always been an exciting time for me. Before I had a computer, I would eagerly await the June issue of my favorite magazines for the deluge of gaming info, the new announcements, and screenshots of upcoming titles. After my purchase of a computer, I would download videos of the press conferences and game footage, eagerly anticipating the day I would be able to attend.
Finally that day came. I attended my first E3 and was overwhelmed by the lights, the noise, the thousands of individuals combing the halls to play unreleased video games. It was all that I had hoped for…and less somehow.
After experiencing E3, I still believed that the idea was great, but perhaps that it was a little too showy. Sure I was getting to play games years before my friends would, but the professionalism was undermined by the unnecessary showmanship. If you have a great game, you don't really need a scantily clad female or a giant, fire-breathing banner to attract me.
I do believe that the new E3 has taken it a little too far, however. I think the downsizing was a little extreme, especially considering the vast difference in attendance and size. While it is a step in the right direction, I think the best E3 for the industry would be a happy medium between the showy E3 we've always known and loved and the new, quiet and reserved E3 '07. If we could strike a balance between the two, we'd have fun and professionalism in a neat little package.
Maria Montoro, Co-Site Director
Unfortunately, going to E3 some year was one of my secret dreams; not so secret anymore, I guess! I have anxiously followed every year the E3 events covered by the press, and I thought some day I could just go and see it by myself, be part of those lucky ones who get to see and try the upcoming video games before anyone else does. And I still haven't lost my hope, but I do realize the chances are much more limited.
In any case, I know that the industry has made this decision because they obviously thought it would bring positive results. The limitation of access to E3 to only those that are truly accredited as press members will certainly have its good consequences. Less money spent on the events, more access to game testing by real press affiliates, and therefore, better coverage of the event and more substantial news.
E3 is not a party nor is it a joke. The Electronic Entertainment Expo was created to promote game developers, publishers, and their products, in order to create high expectations and anticipation, which will translate into more sales. I think they did what they had to do and no one is to blame their decisions; those who are worthy of participating in the event will still have the opportunity to go.
Hopefully the rules won't become very strict, but there's always time for adjustments and new regulations. This year will be a test that will determine if the change was for the better or for the worse, and it will help the industry to resolve what is important and what is not, what needs to be changed and what needs to be brought back to the way it was.
Whatever the verdict is, I'm glad I won't lose the opportunity to access the latest game news and announcements via the Internet and TV. That's what the media is for, and I can't wait to see what surprises will surface on E3 this year!
Jonathan Marx, Freelance Writer
E3 has always been a special time of year for the avid gamer. It represents gaming Valhalla; the place where honored warriors of the industry go to do battle with their peers, in an ethereal and surreal setting, above the fray of the common, mortal gamer. It gives gamers a glimpse into the world of videogame development, and lets them know what's headed their way in the coming months. The structure of the event has changed recently, and this has a number of the lesser industry players and members of the press, the proverbial cogs of the wheel, up in arms. No longer is E3 the veritable circus it used to be. The former structure was a videogamer's Gen Con; full of aficionados dressed in garb, not furthering the industry's goals or revving up sales, but simply there to take in the sights and sounds produced by the gaming elite. Upper management at development firms cringed at the expense put into the event. They questioned whether the pomp and circumstance was even necessary. Was it really worth the show? Did E3 further their goals, or was it just a hedonistic endeavor promulgated by a fan base hungry for entertainment? The industry stalwarts decided it was time to make a drastic change, and separate the wheat from the chaff or, as I like to say, "The sweet from the chafes".
E3 is now concentrated and geared toward the industry professionals that make a profound difference in the bottom-line. These are movers and shakers that it pays to shock and awe. On the whole, I think it was a very intelligent move. This was a business decision that was long overdue. Developers are able to market their products and create a powerful media buzz while spending much less money to do so. The consumer still gets lots of media coverage from their favorite sources, and doesn't have to dream about being part of the mayhem. The temptation has been eliminated, but the news we really care about is still out there. The people that got hit hardest by the changes, me included, don't really matter anyway. Lowly members of the press, freelancers, and gaming industry drones have been eliminated. I think the change in structure was necessary, but the rich and vibrant culture that surrounded the event was lost. Certainly this will translate into better profits, but some of the anticipation and much of the fun have been lost. It was a dollars and sense decision; one which dashed any hopes I had of being part of such a lively event, but one that was probably necessary.
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