E3 Expo to be downsized as game vendors pull plug on support

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E3 Expo to be downsized as game vendors pull plug on support

Washington (DC) – Amid an apparent mass exodus of gaming industry support, the Entertainment Software Association stated this afternoon it will discontinue the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), at least in its present form. The Association will attempt to hold a kind of substitute conference in its place, either mainly or exclusively for the media, though some would-be invitees are already giving that prospect very low hopes.

“It is no longer necessary or efficient to have a single industry ‘mega-show,'” ESA president Douglas Lowenstein stated this afternoon. “By refocusing on a highly-targeted event, we think we can do a better job serving our members and the industry as a whole, and our members are energized about creating this new E3.”

“To better address the needs of today’s global computer and video game industry, the 2007 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3Expo) is evolving into a more intimate event focused on targeted, personalized meetings and activities,” reads today’s statement from the ESA. With the final scale of downsizing yet to be determined, the Association concedes the show’s final form will be significantly smaller: “It will focus on press events and small meetings with media, retail, development, and other key sectors. While there will be opportunities for game demonstrations, E3Expo 2007 will not feature the large trade show environment of previous years.”

Hoping the gaming industry, including the media, will be just as interested in witnessing a life support system next year as it did the exposition last May, Lowenstein resounded the following positive notes: “E3Expo remains an important event for the industry and we want to keep that sense of excitement and interest, ensuring that the human and financial resources crucial to its success can be deployed productively to create an exciting new format to meet the needs of the industry. The new event ensures that there will be an effective and more efficient way for companies to get information to media, consumers, and others.”

GamesIndustry.biz reported this afternoon that it had learned from a prominent, though anonymous, source that Electronic Arts’ apparent pullout from the show may have been the final straw. EA’s belief, the publication believes – which is reportedly upheld by many other firms – is that the multi-million dollar expense necessary for a vendor to make a good showing at E3, cannot be directly justified by the returns it makes. In other words, there’s no clear sign the show impacts sales. Next Generation apparently took note of the cascade effect caused by EA, in a report published late Sunday.

After TG Daily’s and TwitchGuru‘s combined coverage of E3 last May, TwitchGuru Managing Editor Rob Wright commented, “We had seen and heard so much, but most of it was of little consequence. Even when we caught some big fish in the vast sea of people at the Los Angeles Convention Center, it somehow didn’t feel worth the grind.”