So when is E3 actually going to be a trade show?

The annual “how can I get into E3?” threads have already started making their rounds on several boards I visit.

This is really starting to bug me. Is there any hope that at least one day of E3, at some point in the near future, will actually be a trade show? It’d be nice to be able to actually do work-related things without having to shove fanboys out of my way.

Ugh. You should scam some money out of them.

The obvously underage fanboys bug the crap out of me especially (the show has a 18+ age requirement).

Doesn’t look like it. The show’s organizers don’t seem to care about enforcing the industry-only rule strictly and/or like the additional money generated. And the companies at the show just increasingly fortify their temporary office castles to keep their imporantant meetings well away from the swag-filled shopping bag-toting fanboys.

Doubtful, they need the non-industry types to keep attendance up so showfloor space fees don’t drop.

Easy enough to do what the poster above mentioned.

The thing is, a game industry trade show - strictly enforced - would STILL be mostly fanboys. ;-)

Every year I see a little kid or three (like 8 year olds, LITTLE kids) running circles around one of the NO ONE UNDER 18 ADMITTED (NO EXCEPTIONS) signs.

Which are at the doors by the security guys.

I don’t expect them to drag some random child out of the building, but why doesnt someone at least mention to the parents that they’d rather they leave them at home?

As for the old freaky guys in pokemon t-shirts, that’s pretty much what I expect at e3. If everyone has a suit one year, I’ll be really freaked out.

The result of this is that many companies are creating their own tier of access by having behind the scenes showings only available by invitation. This works out pretty well because you can actually see and hear and ask questions. Heck, I even get really annoyed when people try to show me games on the main show floor because I can’t hear them and keep getting jossled by every passer by trying to squeeze through the overcrowded area.

I hear that Spielberg brings his kids with him to the show, and frankly, I can’t imagine anyone in LA saying “no” to Spielberg.

I hear that Spielberg brings his kids with him to the show, and frankly, I can’t imagine anyone in LA saying “no” to Spielberg.[/quote]

I assumed they were big-wig’s kids, it’s just that, well, that’s pretty clearly an ‘exception’.

Sounds like it’d work rather poorly in the long run. If the main show was supposed to be for that sort of thing, what’s keeping the standards of those invite-only demonstrations dropping and spawning another tier of invite-only showings? It sounds like the selection for those isn’t that great as it is, and it pretty much sounds like the usual clusterfuck; no one has control, no one’s really thinking, and no one really cares. By all accounts, it sounds worse than the bullshit that you’d normally associate with Hollywood simply because there’s really no one worth that much pampering and pandering. Free drinks and gormet buffet for… some… fucker with a website. Or whatever. Who knows.

Maybe some of the people working for companies that have booths can speak up here. What, precisely, is the point of E3? Is the word-of-mouth from people who fall under even the reletively low standards of “gaming press” really worth their admission? Is the current situation possibly because all but a few unique reviewers/reporters have roughly the same credibility as any random fuckhead with an opinion, a 7th grade writing capability, and a website? Couldn’t the same or even greater effect be had at lower overall expense with fewer, more focused and diligent attendees? What makes these little sideparties justifiable, really? And who’s making the decisions for admission to E3, anyway?

I guess i’m singling out the PC devs since a few post here, but the big console names are just as guilty, if not moreso by a wide margin. Is it just companies of a particular, maybe seld-publishing type, like EA or UbiSoft or whoever, straddling mediocrity and trying to buy attention with flash and flesh, like a glorified magazine ad? The little guys seem happy to just be there in their usual no-name section, and the big boys like Nintendo and Sony usually have announcements that are so big and simple that they don’t really need throngs of barely-admitted people “reporting” on them.

Before you the professional game writer gets all delusional about your importance at E3 I’d like to let you know that you are the third wheel of the whole E3 experience.

E3 is a place for the game companies to show their products to firstly the mass media. It’s a place to roll out your new console where NBC will show it on the nightly news to millions of casual gamers who have no idea when sony will introduce the next playstation will come out.

E3 is also the place for the maker of your game’s biggest fansites. They will play a buggy demo of your crap game that comes out in a couple of months and say it was the most awesome experience of their lives, they will pose with your booth babes and tell everyone what a great game designer you are.

You the professional game writer will write a couple of previews that you would write anyway and probably will be critical of the game’s mechanincs, graphics and of the game designer’s ardent fans. You will yawn and write something like “will these features be working by release date? We’ll have to wait and see.” Mass media has no time for such sentiments and my fans would never take sucn a critical stance. You the professional game writer are at E3 to embarass the game designer and ask tough questions. You serve a nich market of discriminating consumers and you have no place at the designers debut party.

There have been underage kids at E3… they have an “underage badge” you just can’t drink.

I think you asked the wrong question. It should have been, when did e3 STOP being a tradeshow.

Its a lost cause now, its now a PR event and there is no going back. You could try and organized anther tradeshow. Even if you did pull it off and it did become succesful, how long would you resist the dump trucks full of money and turn it into what E3 is today?

At least in the last few years, they officially prohibit kids. There are always exceptions, though.

And I agree that it’s a lost cause in terms of going back to an intimate trade show. It’s a massive press event with a side of deal-making and business development in the smaller halls

Yuri is correct. The game companies and such could probably give a flying fud if any game “journalists” but the top tier (IGN, Gamespot, EGM) showed up. The event is there to provide all-in-one coverage from the major networks’ news agencies, to show off the industry’s glitz and capital in the city devoted to public relations as a way of life, and for the businessmen to do their deals with each other behind closed doors. Everything else is window dressing, including the gaming press. The reason we have to jostle with every EB/Gamestop/Best Buy wage slave in the country while trying to do our jobs is because our jobs don’t matter. What matters is that the biggest industry event of the year looks absolutely packed when it pops up in the background of the CNN story.

Fucking unwashed masses, ruining such a tasteful, low-key, mature event

orf with their heads

The “point of E3” is to get retail game buyers to buy games.
Everything else is dross.

If you’ve ever seen one of the big buyers (and their entourage) move through the show floor… well, just lets say that Spielberg would be given a hard shove if he were in their way.

See, I’ve heard this, but it doesn’t make any sense. Why would a buyer need to see stuff like this first-hand in order to know how many units to buy? Wouldn’t there be better indicators of how successful a game is going to be than the size of a booth or the quality of a single demo --say the track record of a franchise or publisher or genre? Why would you base such an important decision on an event that’s specifically designed to dazzle you and emphasize a game’s positive features? In the age of telephones and the Internet, why does this kind of business need to be done in person? I’m sure that buyers are treated as VIPs, but I don’t see how E3 is necessary for them. Or even advantageous.

I wouldn’t say everything else is dross. I would say everything is in in service of getting the buyers to buy games. The throngs of fanboys, the line of legit press waiting for their backed-up appointments, the people posing with booth babes, the blaring music… the whole spectacle. The last thing they want any buyer to do is think that nobody is interested in thier game.

I’m curious, though. We’re approaching the age where the buyers will be all gamers themselves. Sure they went to business school or something, but the 30-somthings buying games for EB and Best Buy and the like will soon be the generation that grew up with Nintendo as a kid and have been gaming ever since. (if there aren’t a few of them now - I get the impression there aren’t)

What happens when the buyers are the kind of guys who read gaming news sites, are Penny Arcade fans, subscribe to all the magazines (and did so before they got the game buying job), etc.? What happens when, heaven forbid, we have a buyer here?

Does it change the industry? For the better? Food for thought.

Quite right. The term I should have used is “gilt”.

What happens when the buyers are the kind of guys who read gaming news sites, are Penny Arcade fans, subscribe to all the magazines (and did so before they got the game buying job), etc.? What happens when, heaven forbid, we have a buyer here?

Does it change the industry? For the better? Food for thought.

I wonder if that day will ever come… For the most part the buyers seem to be hardcore business people, not players.

From my past experience dealing with game buyers, they really don’t know much about the games themselves. They rely on events like E3 to help them find the buzz. Even then, they fail. Katamari Damacy being an obvious point of failure for all of them since the E3 buzz was excellent last year yet no one ordered more than one per store to start (if that).

The reason most buyers aren’t game people is because most of those game people don’t want to be buyers. Retail is where they work so they can become modder of year. Then they get the job at EA working for $30k a year and eating ramen noodles so they can continue to buy the games they need to stay in the loop which they’ll have no time to play during their 80 hour work weeks.

ahem

Anyway, retail is dull to most kids. They’re very unlikely to want to be a part of it. Most days I think they’re right to stay away.

–Dave