E for Enjoyless

Ever since the ESA announced E3 would be scaled back and made to an invite-only event, people across the net have been up in arms about the whole thing. I really don’t understand why.

You see, it was always meant to be for people in the industry. That would include developers, publishers, press, marketing/buyers. And by buyers, I don’t mean consumers that walk into Best Buy and pick up a game. I mean the executives at Best Buy (and other companies) that tell the publisher, “Hey, I want X copies of title Y for Z number of stores we operate.”

Of course, there was always other ways people got in. The main one that comes to mind are the EB Games/Gamestop employees that would get in because they worked for one of the buyers. “Yo yo, I work for teh gamez store, I’m so pwnsome! Yeah, that’s generalizing, but that’s typically how many of the employees at those two stores act, in my personal experiences.

Anyway, so many more people were getting in to the event than were originally expected. This led to several things.

  • Longer lines to demo/see games
  • Harder for the real industry people to do business
  • Companies put on more elaborate booths to try to impress what was becoming the general public

Reports from E3 2006 claimed that lines to see the Wii were approaching the four hour mark. That’s half of your day there wasted in line. Now, I’m not saying the line would’ve been an hour without the non-belongers there, as everyone wanted to check out the hardware. I do, however, believe that their presence made the lines longer than they should’ve been.

Along with that, I’ve been told by other that the sheer amount of traffic from all those people made getting around the convention halls a pain. Also, with the amount of people there, the volume of noise increased and made it hard to communicate with others. Often, conversations would turn into shouting matches just so the other party could hear what you had to say.

The third point listed above is about the elaborate booths. Now, I never got to attend in past years when the booths was amazing light shows filled with celebrities and other hot commodities. But after attending this year’s, I don’t really see why they’d be a necessity. Yes, having those displays help attract foot traffic from attendees, but other than that, it doesn’t really do much other than add to the cost of doing business.

To try and appease all of those that weren’t invited to this year’s E3, and for those that always wanted attended but could never get a job selling pre-owned games and pointless warranties, this year will introduce E for All, a convention for those left out and years past who will probably receive scraps from other meetings.

My impression is that this event was publicized to be more like E3 was before it was scaled back. Lots of lots, tons of people, but most of all, this is open to the public. But what will be shown? Well, some of the big names won’t be there, so you won’t see their goods. This includes Sony, Microsoft, Capcom and some others.

Really, what will be seen? Will attendees be playing games months early like E3 and some other trade shows are known for? I would guess not. I would guess everything would be nearly complete, gold, or retail copies of games. I say this because it’s unlikely a company would want to show the public an early version of a game that might not be an accurate representation of the final product.

Let’s say you saw an early build of Bioshock, and none of the plasmids were in place, and none of the final music. The music helps set the mood in the game, and the plasmids are a huge portion of the game. They add to the story. Well, it might appear to be your average FPS game. It wouldn’t have presented well, and the public would remember that.

And as for big announcements coming out of E for All, I wouldn’t count on it. Tokyo Game Show will be right around the corner, so most of the breaking news will be held for that.

With all of the shows now, such as DICE, GDC, E3, TGS and the various gamers days that publishers have been having this year, where will these companies have time to work on future products if they feel obligations to attend all of the various shows. E for All isn’t really serving a purpose other than to help accomodate the public’s “me too” attitude. Sorry, but that’s part of being the public. It doesn’t get to see everything that happens.

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