When I first heard that the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) attendance was getting downsized from 70,000 to 5,000, I didn’t cry, whine, spit or even blame it all on J Allard (for whatever odd reasons some of you bloggers have). In fact, I closed my browser and had the best sleep I’ve had in 12 years.
I dreamed of an E3 where boobs didn’t sell games and dynamic light shows didn’t sway the media. I dreamed of an E3 where reporters were able to get to game presentations on time without first having to hike through a mile of Target employees. I dreamed of an E3 where publishing companies were able to spend more time and money developing their games rather than paying off porn stars and way too many PR employees.
Most importantly, however, I dreamed of an E3 where the games were finally the center of attention. If there’s one thing that E3 has lacked in the last five years, it’s the lack of focus on the games. With the new and improved E3 coming next July, games will be showcased in conference rooms and suites where the media can get intimate with the developers and finally get to ask the questions that never get asked.
Sure, there’s downsides. Reporters like myself probably have a 5 percent chance of getting in, but unless you’re getting paid a good sum of money to be there, you really serve no purpose.
Another less apparent downside is that the developers in the outskirts of the Los Angeles Convention Center, also known as Kentia Hall, will no longer have an outlet to show off their games and products to the big companies. I highly doubt this will be the case and I’m sure between the two L.A. hotels the event will be held in, the Kentia Hall boys will find some space to show off their crazy gyro products.
It still surprises me that when the ESA announced this so-called debauchery, the game media acted as if it was the end of video games. Most of these fools have gone back and realized that their lives will now be unbelievably easier, but the fan-boys with their WordPress and Geocities Web sites will be bawling for the next century about how they should be at the biggest event of the year.
The argument that this is merely a way for big publishers to save some money and give gamers nothing in return will most likely turn out to be very false (although Electronic Arts might use the extra money to build a new Death Star). Most developers and publishers actually do want to effectively get their message out about their up-and-coming games. Imagine an industry where publishers easily got videos, Q&As and demos out to every video game media powerhouse. Sure, reporters might not get 10-pound freebie bags (basically trash bags), but they’ll give us even better coverage of the industry (most of which will be more positive thanks to a two month push and some extra cash to spend on spicing up the games).
When I awoke from my dream and realized it would soon be a reality, the world seemed like a better place. Hezbollah hadn’t stopped their madness, but reporters had stopped crying about having easier jobs and J Allard was no longer the antichrist of E3. In the words of Conan O’Brien, “Keep cool my babies,” everything will be as viewtiful as ‘Viewtiful Joe.’