July 31, 2006 6:34 AM PDT

Makeover for massive E3 game event?

GameSpot has learned that on Monday the Entertainment Software Association will announce changes to the format and scale of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, the game industry event that typically draws in excess of 60,000 attendees and includes more than 400 exhibitors.

On July 28, the Web site of U.K. trade magazine MCV reported discussions had taken place between the ESA and E3 exhibitors that addressed the future of the annual trade show. GameSpot spoke with informed game industry sources late Friday and Saturday and learned that the show would radically shrink in size and move from its usual Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) venue to a smaller location.

Sources said that rather than fill the 540,000 square feet of the cavernous LACC, the show will take place at a location that would support exhibitors in meeting room space only, with companies showing their wares to a select group of attendees numbering in the hundreds rather than thousands.

One reason behind the downsizing of the show can be attributed to the dollar cost of the event to exhibitors, including the demands on companies to assign large numbers of staff to focus on the show, expenses associated with travel to the show, and the added expense to polish game builds and demos to be shown to attendees.

While the largest of E3 exhibitors could support their own marketing and promotion of upcoming games, the smaller companies that rely on the attention that E3 generates may have no recourse other than to market their games independently. But a smaller E3 would impact more than the game industry: The local hotel and related entertainment and service industries in Los Angeles take in more than $50 million during E3--the estimated amount attendees and businesses spend over the course of the three-day event.

One source added that the new format of the show may actually result in a more productive environment to demo games to the media, although they stopped short of full disclosure: "My lips are sealed until after the weekend," the source said.

An official statement from the ESA outlining the changes will be released on Monday, numerous sources said. E-mails to the ESA for comment were not returned at press time.

Curt Feldman of GameSpot reported from San Francisco.

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Official Save E3 Petition
The folks at thehardcoregamer.com have started an online petition to Save E3 2007. The people most negatively affected by this decision are the independent video game journalists and the gamers themselves who will eventually purchase the products. Cancelling E3 will essentially silence the voice of the independent video game journalist. View and sign the petition online at: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.thehardcoregamer.com/Home/tabid/36/EntryID/117/Default.aspx" target="_newWindow">http://www.thehardcoregamer.com/Home/tabid/36/EntryID/117/Default.aspx</a>

Stand up for something or you'll lay down for anything.
Posted by HCG KP1gl37 (1 comment )
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Beginning of the end
This is not a good sign. I think they're spinning it to make it sound as if a more intimate setting would be better.

They're downsizing pure and simple. I would not be surprised if E3 ultimately failed to exist. Comdex experienced the same fate.
Posted by ericnn24 (7 comments )
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E3 will just be usurped...
If E3 shrinks, it will just be replaced by another big conference, just like CES eventually killed Comdex. Remember that it just takes one exhibitor to take their big money bags elsewhere for everyone to follow suit. Imagine if Microsoft started putting on big glammy exhibits at another conference and EA, Activision and Sony didn't follow suit?

Right now, my money is on either CES or ComiCon (that's right, ComiCon) becoming the new substitute for E3. And E3 will fade away.
Posted by rburriel (5 comments )
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