With Internet rumours flying about the death of the E3 Expo trade show, the Entertainment Software Ratings board today confirmed that the show would be severely scaled down from its present form, but insisted that the show will live on.
"The world of interactive entertainment has changed since E3Expo was created 12 years ago. At that time we were focused on establishing the industry and securing orders for the holiday season," said Douglas Lowenstein, President of the ESA, the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers and the owner of E3Expo. "Over the years, it has become clear that we need a more intimate program, including higher quality, more personal dialogue with the worldwide media, developers, retailers and other key industry audiences."
The current plans for the 2007 show call for it to remain in Las Angeles, which Lowenstein said was a great venue for the show, noting that the city has been very friendly to the convention over the years. However, it was not said whether or not the show would take place at the LA Convention Center as apparently that amount of space will no longer be needed.
According to the ESA, E3 2007 will be more intimate with game companies showing their newest games to invited media in meeting rooms without the huge floor space and glitzy displays that have come to symbolize E3 over the past decade. Likely the show will only be attended by a few hundred people, and not the thousands who have gathered there in recent years.
"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," said Lowenstein.
Additionally, the evolution of the video game industry into a vibrant and expanding global market has led to the creation of major events in different regions, such as the Games Convention in Leipzig, the Tokyo Game Show, and company-specific events held by Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, and others around the world. As a result, Lowenstein said, "It is no longer necessary or efficient to have a single industry ‘mega-show'. 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."
News sites were a buzz with speculation over the weekend that the show might even be cancelled, with several citing high-ranking industry sources which they did not name. Most of the rumors stressed that publishers were tired of paying millions of dollars to attend the show, and then having the media focus on the industry as a whole instead of their individual games. Another rumor cites Electronic Arts with leading the charge about the rising costs of the show. None of these rumors have yet been confirmed.
The ESA also said that the actual look and feel of the show is still being worked out, and more details about E3 2007 will be released in the coming months.