File this one under "didn't we just have this argument?" But what the hell, with E3 kicking off this week and companies like Microsoft, Ubisoft and EA holding press conferences today, now is as good a time as any to argue about opening up E3 to consumers. That's just what Dan Ackerman of C|Net does this morning in an article entitled "A modest proposal: Open E3 to the public."
Ackerman glosses over the recent shaky history of the event - where many wondered if the trade show would survive at all - and how it has moved from place-to-place, how it is affected in the age of a well connected populace through live blogs and video feeds, and how the whole "doing business and making deals" has been trumped by making news. Here's the main thrust of his argument:
The E3 show has survived pit-stops in Santa Monica and Atlanta, a near-desertion by its participating companies, and a couple of years of minimal attendance -- but just barely. Since E3 already looks and feels a lot like a fan event such as Comic-Con, why not throw open the doors to the public and make it the World's Fair of video games? It's an open secret that the halls have always been crowded with snuck-in friends and fans, so why not make it official? Do that, make it a destination event, and charge for tickets at the door, and we'll never have to ask if E3 can survive again.
And as a compromise E3 organizers who want press and buyers to come can simply create a back room area like GamesCon does every year. Then maybe they can stop charging publishers - especially small ones - millions of dollars. On a side note, I liked the show best when it was in Atlanta.