I read this at GameDaily, I completely agree with all of his points... perhaps except the last one.
Having attended myself, I disagree with many of them...here we go:
- Venue: Call me a snob; however, I think the venue, a hangar at the Santa Monica airport, was a big downgrade from taking over the entire LA Convention Center. I couldn't see how the logistics would work bouncing between hotels and an airport hangar.
The hanger was a small portion of the show. If you wanted to see Bioshock, Fallout 3, Age of Conan, Rock Band etc. you weren't at the hanger.
- The E3 Conference: In years past I found a lot of value in the E3 Executive Conference that took place the first few days of the show. Everyone who was anyone was there and you could speak to other execs and do deals literally at the water fountain. This critical mass of the game industry brain trust was a big draw for me and I didn't see it happening this year.
I've skipped this every year. The people I came to see at E3 were at my meetings. I don't need to 'rub elbows' with executives to get the coverage my readers want.
- Focus on the Big 3: In the age of social networks, virtual worlds, MMOs, immersive casual games, virtual goods and items, it felt like E3 was missing the most exciting developments. Sure we all care about the big console guys and what they are doing, but it's like you were to focus on CBS, NBC and ABC at a TV convention or focus on Prodigy, Sun, Novell and IBM in 1995 as the Internet was getting going. I've been excited attending 2 conferences in the past month, casual games and virtual goods, as those markets are wide open and growing fast. E3 should find a way to touch these areas in meaningful ways.
Funny, I felt like the focus was on everyone *but* the big 3. I spent more time with some of the smaller pubs than I did with Sony. *shrug*
- No Shows: "Are you going? No? He's not either?" That conversation was repeated many times with colleagues and my conclusion was many top people weren't going to be there. The "must attend" status seemed missing to me this year.
Hmm....I had 28 appointments total. Seemed like people were there.
- The Airplane Hangar (again): "You're kidding me. Isn't that where Motley Crue played at the Spike awards a few years back?" (Content of an actual conversation with another exec)
(again) The hanger was for people who couldn't get bigger appointments.
- Networking: I could have meetings by missing meetings. Many a deal was done over an overpriced sandwich outside the café at the LACC. In fact, you could just hang out and the gaming world would pass by. The industry's ecosystem was a big fish tank for 3 days where you ran into everyone in one place.
(Glances at huge stack of business cards and recent LinkedIn additions) Yea...no networking. </sarcasm>
- Kentia Hall: The much maligned "Can't Find Ya" Hall was actually a favorite of mine – maybe because we always were stuck there as we couldn't afford the better spaces (that was before the AOL deal of course). However, there was something emergent, entrepreneurial and visionary about many of the fledgling games, peripherals and services there. In fact, the first time I heard of NCsoft was at the Korean Pavilion several years back.
I'll concede that there was no 'low rent' space for independents. Hell, the guys behind The Witcher were in Kentia as I recall...
- The Buzz: Love it or hate it, you knew gaming was important with all the activity at the old E3. I didn't think a press conference in a hotel or well scripted Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo press event would make up for that.
And thank God for that. I'm glad to see the buzz is gone. I got more done.
- Booth babes. For more on that see the "Revenge of the Booth Babes" article from last year.
I saw two. They were handing out foam rubber shrunken heads at the Eidos meeting room. Non-issue.
- Vacation: I had already put in for my vacation week by the time the dates for E3 were announced. Sorry, but with 2 little kids you've got to plan ahead.
2 kids? Who's fault is that? This is a pretty lame excuse...
- Expenses: I didn't think I could get a $400/night (or more) beach front hotel bill reimbursed as it was way above our Company's limit for LA. The "beach" thing would have been suspicious anyway.
Sure, 400 a night if you take a room at the Ritz. My room was 1.5 miles away from all of the meeting rooms and I paid $120 a night. Had a view of the beach too.
- European Tourists: Whenever I've been in Santa Monica in July, the place is swarming with French, German and other Eurotourists. Sidewalks tend to be clogged with slow moving, picture taking and T-shirt buying riffraff who wouldn't know Mario if he jumped on their heads.
Lemme check...uhm...no Mr. Jingoist, I don't think I saw a single tourist. (Not that I spent a lot of time on the sidewalks - I was in my meetings)
I hope missing E3 this year won't have career backlash for me. If you attended, let me know what you think. Hopefully future E3s will bring back some of the lost glory in a way where business can get done and the game business' next big winners can be seen.
This guy thinks that business got done at the fiasco that was E3 2006? For a Press Only event, there sure were a lot of people there that didn't belong, taking up space and making it a generally miserable event. (190k at last count)
Apparently, I'm not the only one who completely lost interest in the new E3, as a spectator and as someone working within the industry. E3 came and went, there was barely any new information and no exciting stories to report.
I think a lot of people shot their news out earlier and frequently througout the year, fearing that E3 would be a disaster. There were quite a few announcements that could have been 'held' until E3 to make it more 'exciting'.
I personally found that this was the best and worst E3 ever. I got more interviews and hands-on time with every single title, and the meetings were far better in execution than ever before. On the other hand, the shuttles back and forth was a logistic nightmare. Now that I know where everything is though I could better plan my coverage map. Viva the New E3!