Surprises

by Mike Masnick




Forget The Lack Of Booth Babes; Next E3 May Be Missing Exhibitors

from the and-so-it-goes dept

Running a big conference ain't easy -- especially in the tech field. Even Comdex died eventually -- though it had clearly been on the decline well before the final towel was thrown (to Greece, apparently). However, it's still a bit surprising to potentially see a similar fate hit E3, the big video gaming conference held every spring. While there are conflicting reports concerning whether or not the show has simply been scaled back to bring it back to its roots, or if that's simply an attempt by the organizers to save face after all major exhibitors pulled out, it certainly sounds like some of the messy behind-the-scenes politics of conference culture is reaching the public. More details are supposed to be released later in the day Monday, but from what's been said, it appears to be a case where the various exhibitors teamed up to try to get a better deal out of the Entertainment Software Association, who perhaps thought they were bluffing -- leading the exhibitors to prove they were not. Of course, many people perhaps felt that E3 headed downhill after announcing its (mostly ignored) plans to ban "booth babes" at the last event.

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  • identicon
    Dom, 31 Jul 2006 @ 3:00am

    Sigh.

    This is a bit sad, E3 is an amazing expo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andy``, 31 Jul 2006 @ 3:43am

    Well...

    In all honesty, it could be worse. While I love the wealth of information that comes via E3, generally you can always find it somewhere else, like say...the internet. And the internet happens to be slightly cheaper for companies to market through than E3.

    All the flash - the booth babes, massive screens with trailers on, etc - would be better placed with a show accessible to the public, but without the public access the point is lost and just turns into pure hype, and nothing more.

    Plus, with all the competition in setting up the most amazing looking booths, the smaller companies get lost a bit. When they DO try and setup a booth to market their game, they probably end up wasting more money pushing it at E3 than they would have ignoring E3 and releasing the game anyway. So it'll help the smaller developers.

    And in general, I'd prefer developers spent their time and money more in the game itself, rather than splashing it all out into a big show in an attempt to stir up enough hype ensuring their game will sell. A game which, due to the loss of funding and work time, may never quite turn out to be as great as it could have been.

    A downsized E3 may focus more on the special aspects of games too, such as technical advancements and the like. If it does, it could possibly make it harder for some companies to market their games via the show...but it could also encourage them to come up with better and more original ideas for each of their games, helping to push industry standards a little faster (as opposed to waiting several years for the next Half-Life, or *insert innovative game here*).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    MrPaladin, 31 Jul 2006 @ 4:29am

    E3, what is it good for, absolutly nothing...

    All that E3 is now is a hype machine that forces people to give us some information to meet the expos deadlines...

    removing that constraint will still yeild us the infor we need, just spread out over time, you no longer have to worry about your title not making the best of E3 or some other arbitrary goal... you can be best of right NOW when you release the information...

    Just like the media E3 is being ignored due to people getting their info from the internet... heck I even got my info about E3 from the internet too.... does anyone still actually go to E3?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DreadedOne509, 31 Jul 2006 @ 5:04am

    Went to the E3 back in 00'. It was more of a carnival than a symposium on electronics, games and the state of the industry. Mostly eye candy rather than substance. Would I go again? Sure, if they have booth babes and some cutting edge games/gadgets etc, otherwise no. Could care less if E3 fades away.

    Perhaps the game publishers and hardware OEM's should create an alliance of sorts and to their own expo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Boilerbuzz, 31 Jul 2006 @ 5:40am

    What an irresponsible comment.

    First, the conference has been going down hill LONG before the whole "booth babe ban" as you call it. If you were there, you would know that there we still plenty of them - just dressed more sensibly. Secondly, to imply to that major exhibitors are leaving because they can't have "booth babes" is not only childish, but insulting to people in the industry. The sterotype of "horning 20-something geeks that can't get a date because they are always playing games" is old. It's growing up. The biggest problem today is that the major exhibitors aren't showing a lick at the show like they used to. Most of the "big" titles are either a) being shown behind closed doors, b) being shown as a worthless movie (MGS) or c) not being shown at all - just announced. So, paid attendance is heading WAY down because people can't find the point of going. It's not like they are going to get a chance to see or "touch" any of the games that make a difference. But I could right a LONG diatribe of why E3 is dying and it has ZERO to do with same ban of pointless attire.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      ForkBoySpam, 31 Jul 2006 @ 7:49am

      Re: What an irresponsible comment.

      Ummm...correct me if I am wrong but the article said "people" felt E3 was going downhill after the ban on "booth babes". That didn't sound like they were saying the exhibitors felt that way to me, it sounded more like they meant fans. Let's not put words into the writer's mouth.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Boilerbuzz, 31 Jul 2006 @ 9:29am

        Re: Re: What an irresponsible comment.

        Well, I said it was irresponsible. Saying "people" like that is frankly kinda cowardly. I see the writer's harping on the ban and using this bit of news as a platform. That's pretty weak in my opinion. Also, as I said before, E3 has been going downhill for a few years now in terms of number of exhibitor participation. The press has naturally grown so it saw some growth. But in my opinion, that has more to do with the general growth of the industry as a whole.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 31 Jul 2006 @ 12:50pm

      Re: What an irresponsible comment.

      First, the conference has been going down hill LONG before the whole "booth babe ban" as you call it.

      Did you actually bother to read what was written? Nowhere do I say that the boothbabe issue was an actual issue in the demise of the conference. I used it as a humorous aside.

      I guess I forgot that not everyone's web browser recognizes humor tags.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Boilerbuzz, 31 Jul 2006 @ 2:02pm

        Re: Re: What an irresponsible comment.

        Sorry Mike, I actually read it twice. Humor doesn't come though so obviously in text especially if you don't know the person. If misinterpreted, that's on me. But it's fair to say that it's possible I'm not the only one that could take it otherwise. If a person reads your piece, I believe they could easily come away thinking that the lack of booth babes is the catalyst to all of this.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Boilerbuzz, 31 Jul 2006 @ 5:48am

    Excuse the typos...

    It's early.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2006 @ 6:35am

    They lost, so they quit.

    Well of course they want to leave the expo.

    Sony and Microsoft got nothing but bad press out of E3 this time around. Why? because they deserved it, but only when compared to Nintendo, who actually showed they knew what it took to put on a good exhibit (First: have a product/concpet/innovation worth exhibiting).

    It comes as no suprise at all that exhibitors would want to stop paying for bad press. Is it a sad day? I don't think so. I couldnt care less about exhibitions anyway. I only went for the booth babes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    EnderofZones, 31 Jul 2006 @ 8:35am

    Ridiculousness of PC-ness

    To say that the fall of E3, if indeed that is what we are witnessing, isn't due in some part to the lack of booth babes is not only ridiculous political correct garbage but it's also stupid. Booth babes are a major part of the show whether people like to believe it or not, marketting to 20-somethings is a major part of the industry like it or not, sex sells, whether we like it or not. The majority of gamers contrary to whatever hype you may hear is still made up of guys, it's that simple. Believe it or not (and this may come as a shock) guys like sex, guys like hot girls, guys like girls that look like hot "ideal" girls that they can fantasize about having sex with. The average male brain generally stays in a 20 year old mind set (ever see the older guy trying to play ball like when he was in his 20's and then getting hurt?) that's just how we are. There are studies on it, look it up. That's why most men have commitment issues, we all have Peter Pan Syndrome, no shame there, who doesn't wanna stay young forever? Most guys just do it in their heads. If your too ignorant to "get" that, I'm sorry but those are the facts.

    Just like guys like violence. Some women like violence but guys are more aggressive. It's biology and the last thing I want in my games is political correctness. Nobody's asking ladies to like it, nobody asks guys to like sappy movies or the Lifetime channel, but give me a break. Booth babes never bothered anyone.If you can get the work, go for it. More power to the ladies. Noone thinks their vapid or dumb, they sell an ideal and that ideal wasn't sold and suddenly noone wants to go to the show. Shock and awe...

    Life sucks, ok. We play games to get away from real world issues, thats why there aren't a deluge of political and socio-political simulators on the market. People like to dream, people like to fantasize. Every expo has "babes." Try going to the supermarket and looking at Guns and Ammo, an excersize magazine, or a car modding magazine. There are "babes" everywhere. If women really wanted to change things they'd develop games other women liked and then they could have booth "hunks", I wouldn't care at all. But really penalizing someone because you don't like something and it doesn't hurt anyone is both ignorant and stupid. Why not do away with those violent and brainless saturday morning cartoons... oh wait, the PC police did that already. Damn.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Opus Rex, 31 Jul 2006 @ 9:16am

      Re: Ridiculousness of PC-ness

      Amen brother!!!!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Boilerbuzz, 31 Jul 2006 @ 9:37am

      Re: Ridiculousness of PC-ness

      Whatever you say. I just know that I've been in MANY discussions about E3 for quite a few year in preparing to go in many capacities, and "both babes" have NEVER EVER been a part of that discussion outside of how to attract the PRESS to the booth. Not the exhibitors. No one said the lack of bb's is unimportant - but they are NOT the reason this is happening. I'll just leave it at that.

      I would LOVE to know what any of this has to do with being PC though...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    BillDivX, 31 Jul 2006 @ 9:40am

    I disagree with the booth babes.

    Rich executives work so hard to be rich executives for one reason: to enjoy hot women. If you think booth babes don't matter, think again. I work at DivX. We participate in CES every year. I've been on the floor at CES, and, since I work at DivX in particular, we get a lot of friendliness from another group that has their conference the same weekend: AVN. yeah, just in case all of you didn't know, first week in January, Vegas, there's CES, and there's AVN (that's the adult video network). Do you REALLY think it's a coincidence that the bigwigs running CES, and all the CEOs of all the companies that back it and participate in it, PAID EXTRA for a long term commitment on the convention center for THAT weekend? Of course it's not. Just because a show isn't for the public, doesn't mean that employees(and employers!) aren't willing to pay extra to see some T&A. And people aren't immune to it as a marketing ploy, either, even if they are on an employer's time, so it still makes for a very effective draw into your booth.

    There is no experience as amazing (or hilarious) as seeing Ron Jeremy walking through the Venetian with an entourage of about 10 nearly-naked women.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Boilerbuzz, 31 Jul 2006 @ 10:08am

    Just so that it's clear.

    When I read this piece, I felt it implied that this is happening MAINLY because of booth babes and I'm sure that everyone that's in the industry knows that this is FAR from the truth. So I said the booth babe comments were irresponsible. I didn't say false, I said irresponsible. Then we get a person jumping into a diatribe about what young horny men like. Totally tangent to the point. All the while, no one stepping in to some of the main reasons. Well - here's some from what I've seen, heard, and experienced:

    - The expo is getting more expensive. Everything from travel to hotels to the show itself.
    - The press for your product is getting diluted because more of the same is being shown. We've looked at the impact of a "good" E3 versus and "bad" E3 and the cost is just not justified! THIS is the #1 reason from my perspective.
    - More restrictions on the booths - everyone is getting squeezed into the same space. More booth restrictions. Exhibitors raised MUCH more of stink over the noise issues than the booth babes. LA is getting played out as well.
    - Competition is getting more fierce. Devs are becoming more leary of showing their hand. If they control when certain information is released, they are much happier. If you don't show it, no one will come.

    Those are just starters. Give THOSE items some ink as opposed to whining about booth babes only.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    BillDivX, 31 Jul 2006 @ 10:24am

    Yeah

    I agree with all those things too. It's definitely not just the booth babes. It's a combination of many, many things, and many of those are probably good business decisons. The gaming industry has changed a lot since the first E3. Old institutions still die when they are outgrown, even if they are institutions that people generally like. The things that used to be advantages are not anymore, and no amount of booth babes can attract people to your booth, if there's nobody at the show in the first place.

    They are probably all staying home playing WoW these days...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    heavyw8t, 31 Jul 2006 @ 10:25am

    booth babes

    I would like to offer a personal invitation for any of the booth babes displaced by the ruling last year to come to my house and show me their wares....

    Apply proper innuendo and evil grin here....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andy``, 31 Jul 2006 @ 1:00pm

    Confirmed

    Official statement, reprinted on Gamasutra: http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=10284

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sir KnyghtMare, 1 Aug 2006 @ 9:54am

    Just like the telco's.

    The reason the attending companies are leaving the expo seems to be alot like the telco's that techdirt reminds us of so dutifully. They are failing to innovate. They trot out the same tripe year after year and get less of a reaction each time.

    There was a time when E3 was magical, every kid who knew about video games wanted to go. There was something worth going for!

    Now we get video's of PlayStation3, video's of Metal Gear Solid and video's of how well the next nVidia/ATI card is, for somebody's new platform.
    The kids no longer crave the E3 experiance. There's nothing worth anything there. It's all the same crap they pulled out last year and the year before and the year before that.

    If they innovated, created something new in the space, they would attend E3, they would have to show it off and get, maybe, some well deserved hype from the "hype machine" that is E3. The same hype for the same old products just doesn't cut it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jonny, 30 Sep 2006 @ 8:51pm

    jonny

    jonny

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jonny, 30 Sep 2006 @ 9:16pm

    jonny

    jonny

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jonny, 30 Sep 2006 @ 9:16pm

    jonny

    jonny

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jonny, 30 Sep 2006 @ 9:16pm

    jonny

    jonny

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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