E3 2006: Attendance noticeably lower over Wednesday

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E3 2006: Attendance noticeably lower over Wednesday

Los Angeles (CA) – The first day of a major trade conference is always the one with the largest attendance. But Thursday morning’s session of the E3 Expo is showing surprisingly lower attendance than the previous day, with tournament gaming venues leaving a lot of open couch positions. Some booths, including one for Korean Web gaming producer Webzen, are resorting to using carnival-style barkers, shouting at passers-by, pleading with them to come have their photos taken with Asian wrestling stars.

With fewer general consumers at today’s session, the businesspeople and deal-makers are taking over, negotiating agreements with potential distributors, marketers, and developers. Whereas Wednesday’s lunch lines were full of young males in grunge wear avoiding the salads, Thursday’s lines are packed with well-dressed women and men avoiding the grease and asking for the salad dressing packets. And at one of today’s major conference sessions, featuring noted franchise game developers, the “line” – if it can be called that – swelled only to about a dozen people just before the gates opened.

Friday’s E3 session will consist of fewer conferences, and more time for floor exhibits. The success of these exhibits may perhaps be judged by how many businesspeople, busy with deal-making the day before, hang around to play the latest games Friday afternoon.

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