Getting schooled: Microsoft's unusual E3 location

Posted by Mark Raby

Santa Monica (CA) - It's still a mystery to us why the world's richest company decided to hold its landmark E3 press conference at a local high school.

The situation was a bit awkward.  Security was tight, professional event planners carried on two-way radio conversations, and scores of journalists were networking and talking about upcoming business plans.  This was the stage outside of Santa Monica High School.

When we arrived, we were herded into an area between the school's cafeteria and main classrooms, like a group of high school students ditching study hall.  There were no snacks and nothing to drink, except for bottled water.

During the actual press event, we sat on special Microsoft cushions that decorated the school's granite auditorium bleachers.  Given the surroundings, it was rather surreal to see such a majestic stage set up by Microsoft.

Getting back to the streets of Santa Monica afterwards was also no easy task.  A street system designed most likely to handle a routine schedule of buses had to be used to merge droves of taxis and charter buses, and a few limousines.

Microsoft is setting up its developers and executives in expensive suites at the Viceroy hotel in downtown Santa Monica, and the entire E3 show this year is being pushed in a more upscale fashion.  So we can't help but wonder why Microsoft would go from Grauman's Chinese Theater last year to a dingy public high school this year.