Monday, July 31, 2006

Rumors E3 the Electronic Entertainment Expo to be Cancelled!

I read this on a forum, thought it was interesting to comment on:

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.

Apparently publishers believe that the multi-million dollar budgets allocated to E3 would be better used on smaller, specific shows where publishers get all the limelight. There’s the possibility of a smaller show taking place in May next year, but as Next-Gen puts it, “it’s clear that the days of an industry event attended by all the major publishers, spending big money, are gone.”

Most of the major publishers/developers have private parties prior to E3 and throughout the year. Along with this, a vast majority of the information is now available on the internet. Add to this the cost of producing a “high quality” E3 booth and most of these publishers and developers don’t believe they’re getting any real benefit out of E3. It's great for smaller companies that need exposure, provided they don’t get buried underneath all the attention being demanded by the bigger boothes.

There has been talk for some time that big publishers would begin pulling out of E3 just as several companies over the last five years have pulled out of TGS.

E3 has always been a pro-media event, not a pro-developer/publisher event. When I first attended E3 back in 2001, a PR rep told me then that her company hated having to set up a booth there because the costs far out weighed the benefit. They would much rather have 2 or 3 lower key special events that featured just her company so they wouldn’t have to compete so much for attention.

Of course, my thought has always been that if the companies didn’t make so many poor marketing spending decisions (Sony for instance used to send everything overnight, regardless of what it was, and I assume they still do) they could handle the large single event cost of E3 a little better.