E3 Relevancy Probed by L.A. Times, Cnet

With E3 press conferences getting into full swing this morning, Alex Pham of the Los Angeles Times examines what has become of the once-huge video game extravanganza

Swinging from circus romp to buttoned-down boring, the annual video game confab known as E3 kicks off today in downtown Los Angeles like an overgrown teenager grappling with an identity crisis and longing for the world to take it seriously.

Now in its 14th year, an undercurrent of factionalism has cast a shadow over what should be the $40-billion industry’s biggest event…

Pham spoke with Disney Interactive exec Graham Hopper, an ESA board member who expressed concern about defections by several game publishers, including Activision:

It’s more important than ever for the industry to be able to speak with a clear voice on those [political and regulatory] issues… The game industry is emerging as an important cultural voice in the entertainment world…

Spike TV’s Geoff Keighley expressed concerns of his own:

E3 used to be such a spectacle. As much as everyone groaned about it, everyone still saw it as a national stage for the industry… I don’t think people are convinced the ESA is doing as good of a job as it can be… [The Fox News attack on Mass Effect] was the perfect opportunity for the ESA to step up, and they were nowhere to be found.

Meanwhile, Cnet’s Daniel Terdiman takes his own look at the 2008 E3. ESA VP Rich Taylor told Terdiman:

We’ll know the result… as we get throughout the week. But all indications are, from early feedback and the way things are teed up, that folks are looking forward to a very successful and positive week… Hardware sucks the oxygen out of the room very easily [at E3]. In non-console-launch years, the software becomes the focus (and) we get to see so much of the creativity coming from game developers and game designers.

G4TV host Adam Sessler was enthusiastic:

We’re going crazy over E3. This is definitely the biggest [E3] in terms of the amount of games you can see… So we’re having 35 live demos on our stage.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    They should bring it in-line with the modern ESA. Bring in some DEA agents to kick in the doors and strip search people for mod chips or something.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Since when is it news when Adam Sessler is enthusiastic?  I mean the guy’s emotion dial is stuck on ‘enthusiastic’.  If a pile of crap was marketed as a game Sessler would be enthusiastic about it.  This guy – this hack – embodies all that is unholy and wrong about gaming reporting.

  3. Aliasalpha says:

    And gentlemen in England now a-bed
    Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
    That fought with us upon E3’s day

    I occasionally thought it might be good to go to an E3 but then I saw footage from the floor and realised that my claustrophobia would flare pretty badly in that crush of people. And then it all turned booth babe focussed and I lost interest. As I said, I have no problem with tits, half of my friends have tits and the other half ARE tits.

  4. Ace ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    We agree ofcourse, and (sadly) they aren’t doing anything as awesome as Hot Zerg Lesbian Sex Squad (HZLSS will now enter into common acronym use). I guess my point, buried deep under the sillyness was that having some booth babe is fine. For my sake they could take it to the cream cheese wrestling apex I described, but I understand that is not for everyone.

    It’s not just the booth babes. It’s…the feeling? The atmosphere around the event? There’s expo-like things going on all the time. There was a tractor expo here recently, though I had no word of Tractor booth babes (again, sadly). Which is why I think E3 should distinguish itself as not just an expo…but THE expo. Should make people that weren’t there wish they had been. If it’s "just" showing footage anyone can get to the material within 24 hours of it being shown at the event. But if the event itself has something you can’t record or photograph to experience you’ve got something unique and awesome. Stuff like expo only swag is one way to go as well.
    I don’t doubt E3 is still a great expo…just not "TEH Greatest!"
    Now that I’m starting to talk to people that were at ActiBlizz’s World Wide Invitational they are describing kindof what I mean. It wasn’t just the material at the scene that made them love it, it was the whole atmosphere (granted, E3 is not Blizzcon and it shouldn’t be. But you get what I mean though?).

    To be honest I never watched Naked News, saw a few trailers when it was airing at first and thought the idea and the success it (back then atleast) had was fun. But I could’ve guessed they would most likely not have cutting edge reporting =D

    And that’s an awesome Coke ad, it has my vote.

  5. Aliasalpha says:

    Hey hey hey now! I want to see the zerg lesbian sex squad, all those tentacles, it’d be like live action hentai, all you’d need is a japanese schoolgirl in unusually provaocative terran marine armour. As simultaneously awesome and creepy as that is, I don’t want to see it at a computer game trade show, computer PORN trade show sure…

    Hmm this magical cheese intrgues me. The description of that ad reminds me of a Bill Hicks routine "I’ll tell you the commercial they’d like to do, if they could, and I guarantee you, if they could, they’d do this, right here. Here’s the woman’s face, beautiful. Camera pulls back, naked breast. Camera pulls back, she’s totally naked. Legs apart. Two fingers, right here, and it just says, "Drink Coke." Now I don’t know the connection here, but goddamn if Coke isn’t on my shopping list that week". I used to watch naked news when it was on paytv and I think that it’s very sad that I noticed that the news was obviously several months old & they were showing repeats…

  6. T5 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    *cough* Minnesota Game Law *cough*

    Everyone seems very quick to throw the ESA under the bus, and for what? A Fox News story? Get over it, acting on the legislative side scores more points. 

  7. Saladin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I dunno, it just feels like the guys behind the new E3 felt too self-improtant and ruined what was SUPPOSED to be a spectacle.

    And I agree with Geoff Keighley, regarding the ESA. They seem worthless in a pinch.

  8. Ace ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    "Hell if it’d contined the way it had, gears of war 2 would probably have been announced by the Locust Bikini Team, fallout 3 would have been brought to you by the victorias secret anti-radiation lingerie and there’d have been a special starcraft 2 presentation by the hot zerg lesbian sex squad."

    I question your sexual orientation at this point for not wanting that…I’d do insane things to see the zerg lesbian sex squad! =D

    But all gayness aside, I think a better solution would have been to move the babes to either side of the whatever awesome thing they’re showing off instead of axing them alltogether. Nakednews has done this to some effect as well as most ads these days. I saw an ad for a new line of cream cheese which had some babes running around, splashin some water and then ripping off their tops. Then a guy comes along with a tray of cheese and they go all over him, noming the cheese in a most provacative fashion, up flashes product name, end of ad. Needless to say I had to try it out, if only for the chance I’d be pounced by wild cheese hungry ladies!

    But ofcourse I know what you mean. They shouldn’t fill their booth with boob (or brawn, lets be fair), totally obscuring anything they might have. But the spectacle of it made it so successful. Gamers are generally not the cocktail party type, goddamn do those parties suck. I’d rather have some members of the Locust Bikini Team and Hot Zerg lesbian sex squad wrestle it out in a giant vat of cream cheese, with billboards showing trailers for new games and a man wearing a Master Chief suit handing out tiny Pip-boy hors d’oeuvres while a techno remix of the Super Mario theme blasts from loudspeakers hanging from chains…that are on FIRE!

    That is what E3 should be in a perfect world, not this university lecture, cocktail party thing it seems to be headed towards.

  9. Aliasalpha says:

    Well for my money (not that I’m paying any), E3 went downhill a few years before the big change anyway. I remember the time when the website/magazine stories was wall to wall information about everything awesome in gaming, "How many dynamic lights does it have? Damn I’m gonna need a new video card. Hey awesome, nvidia are releasing a new viseo card, I need one of them!" then at some point it became "booth babes booth babes booth babes, check it out, booth babes, hey there’s one dressed as lara croft, booth babes booth babes booth babes. Oh were there games at E3 this year?"

    Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the boobie but I think the boobie has its place and that place is NOT obscuring the world premiere of a game that hundreds of people have worked really hard on. Frankly I think that lara croft was the catalyst for this, I remember excitement and surprise that they actually got a model to dress up as lara one year and then suddenly every game has some kind of scantily clad chick at the booth for no reason other than to act as a giant flashing sign that has a slightly lower change of inducing epilepsy. Hell if it’d contined the way it had, gears of war 2 would probably have been announced by the Locust Bikini Team, fallout 3 would have been brought to you by the victorias secret anti-radiation lingerie and there’d have been a special starcraft 2 presentation by the hot zerg lesbian sex squad.

    All I’m saying is that there are some things that shouldn’t go together. Perhaps the people responsible for scaling it back saw the same problems that I did, sure I probably wouldn’t have skipped out on a contract & tried to pass the multi-million dollar bill along to my member organisations but still…

  10. Clever says:

    I really hope not – PAX always seemed like more of a fun event, like a carnival, wherein people came to enjoy a common love of gaming. A no-pressure community shindig – sure there’s booths and whatnot there but they aren’t the main attraction- it’s well balanced is what I’m trying to say. I don’t want to see that spoiled. E3 was always "BLLLAAARG LOOK AT MY GRAPHIX!!1!" or "I’m a 45 year old twice divorced marketing director, I’ve never played a game in my life but here I am bro, buy this! ummm…get at me dogg? No wait – holla at your boy? Hang on, I need to go check with the guys who did the dialogue for NBA Street…"

    But if anything is going to replace E3 I suppose it’s the best option. Either that or they’ll go for "E4" by adding "Extreme" to the end of it and everybody has to ride around on skateboards drinking Red Bulls…

  11. ZippyDSMlee says:

    That is what happens when corporate gets into create business quality goes to hell while they spam out products flooding the market with enough stuff to give the illusion of choice and quality.


    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
    (in need of a bad overhaul)


  12. Monolith says:

    Why did they change it in the first place?


    —Oh sure, its fine when a monkey does it. But when I throw barrels at an Italian plumber, they call it a hate crime! – Stephen Colbert

  13. Anonymous says:

    agreed, they make games un-fun while trying to make it effecient. ‘trying’ being stressed to a great length.

  14. TheGreg says:

    Once upon a time stores sold DVD sets of footage of E3, it was that exciting to see some of the new stuff and the big spectacle.


    No one buys DVDs of board meetings and product announcements to dudes in suits.



    I’m just sayin, they killed the biggest thing they had going for them.

  15. kurisu7885 (can't log in) says:

    "Swinging from circus romp to buttoned-down boring, the annual video game confab known as E3 kicks off today in downtown Los Angeles like an overgrown teenager grappling with an identity crisis and longing for the world to take it seriously."


    ALso see trying too hard. Nothing like taking the fun out of what’s supposed to be fun.

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