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E3 Exhibitor Numbers Dwindling

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the maybe-if-it-wasn't-so-expensive-there dept.

E3 29

CVG is reporting on the full list of exhibitors at this year's E3 (now the E3 media Expo), and things are looking quite a bit slimmer than in past years. As you'd expect given the change in tone, the smaller development houses are much thinner on the ground than they used to be. Only 32 companies will be making the trek to Santa Monica, and you can probably name them all off the top of your head. "Most of the big players seem to be there but it's a big way off last year's exhibitor list which exceeded 400. There are also only two independent developers listed, id Software and Foundation 9 Entertainment, which is disappointing seeing as one of the biggest reasons for the down-scale was to give smaller devs a chance in the spotlight. This year's E3 will consist of an exhibit hall in Santa Monica's Barker Hanger as well as company-run demos in nearby hotels. As always third-party press conferences will be held in a common location while platform holders will hold their own bashes - though the big three are yet to make any announcements."

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That's why the name is longer ... (5, Funny)

guysmilee (720583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18857573)

It takes up more room on the brochures and www site :-)

Well... (1)

Sneakernets (1026296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18857729)

This is what happens when big companies eat small companies.

look at the list of companies and tell me which ones HAVEN'T assimilated other companies.

E3 is alive? (1)

alcmaeon (684971) | more than 7 years ago | (#18857759)

I thought it was dead. Since, I thought they weren't going to have any more E3's anyway, I guess this is good news.

Re:E3 is alive? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18858261)

No it was just changed from an essentially public event to an actual trade show. The arms race between exhibitors for hype was getting in the way of actually accomplishing any business at E3 so they scaled it down. The E for All expo is supposed to replace E3's role as a ridiculous hype festival.

Re:E3 is alive? (4, Informative)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 7 years ago | (#18858443)

It downsized [] . (See also this) []

The thing is, it's no longer what it was. It's now invitation-only, and much smaller. It's changed so much that it's fundamentally not what it was.

Re:E3 is alive? (1)

BeansBaxter (918704) | more than 7 years ago | (#18859823)

The thing is, it's no longer what it was. It's now invitation-only, and much smaller.
So any clue who was invited and declined to attend? I had no idea it changed to invitation only. Still sad to see e3 change. Much time has been spent by this fan boy waiting for the next e3. Now I don't really care because I don't expect the grand announcements of the past.

*ALL* trade shows suffering? (4, Insightful)

neonfrog (442362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18857761)

I work in the photography industry and their big US show in NYC, Photo+ Expo, has been getting smaller year after year. It is not because photography is declining, it is because the internet is a GREAT way to release and showcase new products and tech. At least that's what the big photography distributors are telling each other.

Spend gobs of money on a nifty trade show booth and extremely expensive union guys to help you plug in your power strip -OR- go internet viral for less money? Scramble to get a product released by the trade show date, or release it on its own time-table when it can compete most effectively? The choice seems clearer every year.

Trade shows as venues for marketing direct to customers have been dwindling for a while. Trade shows as a networking function are even getting dated. You don't need to be on your feet for 3 days in some other city to figure out who you want to partner with anymore.

Does anyone know of any industries where trade shows are growing?

Re:*ALL* trade shows suffering? (4, Insightful)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18857891)

Does anyone know of any industries where trade shows are growing?

Look at PAX - the Penny Arcade Expo. No, I'm not stupid. I read the phrase "industry trade show", but my point is that as traditional reasons to hold those types of trade shows decline, new reasons may emerge. PAX may not be a trade show, but I think it covers a lot of the type of ground that trade shows (at least, gaming and hard-ware related trade shows) may have covered.

PAX gets bigger every year because the convention has inherent worth, and the trade-show aspect of it is an add on. IF you have a convention that draws people in crowds, then you have a motivation for vendors to show up.

Summary: the vendors aren't enough to draw the crowd anymore, but if you can get a crowd there for another reason, the vendors are going to want in too.

Re:*ALL* trade shows suffering? (3, Insightful)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18861323)

I've been kind of wondering about that. IF I was an executive of, say, Nvidia, or ATI/AMD, or Microsoft, or Nintendo, or even some small Indie/Asian Developer,I would think that PAX would be a GREAT place to exhibit and hold promotional events (second perhaps only to the major Comic Cons in Japan). You've got a huge event, with lots of attendees, who are interested in the products of your industry, that gets LOTS of press coverage, and is likely to get even more now that the major trade show for your industry has just downsized, how is that not a huge opportunity?

Who gives two shits about E3? Its only going to have a couple thousand people. Why not do something at PAX which has tens of thousands of attendees, a large percentage of which will post about the event on their Website/Blog/Podcast/Vidcast/Etc. Why not get them to write about YOUR company too?

Is anybody actually doing this at PAX?

Re:*ALL* trade shows suffering? (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18908065)

Rather than just modding me up, I wish somebody could have commented on my query. It really would be interesting to know if companies are trying to sponsor or set up events at PAX.

Re:*ALL* trade shows suffering? (4, Insightful)

JoelMartinez (916445) | more than 7 years ago | (#18858297)

you hit the nail on the head. At least in the software industry, I think people are starting to realize that the technical content you can get at a conference is readily available from the web ... and the networking (which had always been the real value in the first place), is easily trumped by simply going to local user groups and getting some recognition by having a good website/blog and posting good content.

Re:*ALL* trade shows suffering? (1)

JohnnyComeLately (725958) | more than 7 years ago | (#18860659)

I have 3 product trainers who go to Electronic Home and other home/security type expos, and we're in decline too. We dropped CES this year, and we'll likely drop a few more smaller ones in the near future. I'm new to trade shows, so I don't have 10-20 year history to look at and compare to the normal cycle. With housing starts down and consumer confidence taking hits from $3+ /gal gas, it doesn't surprise me that MOST industries are hit to some degree. I think the "bounce" will depend upon how removed you are from the uncertainty (real estate, consumer prices, etc). The farther you are, the quicker you will bounce back. I would think the entertainment industry is one of the more resilient and should bounce back. Will it be with renewed trade show presence? I think so. You may not be back to 100% of the glory days, but you'll go back to the ones that gave you the right visibility.

Sure the internet will allow the people with the decision making authority to chop their choices down, but nothing beats laying your hands on the product and shaking hands with the VP of Sales or Marketing. I think trade shows will be smaller, but more important. VPs will have less time, and be busier back in the office. Get to the show, get to business quickly, and then tend to the details later. This is my observation as a direct report to the VP of marketing.

Re:*ALL* trade shows suffering? (1)

Ren.Tamek (898017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18863441)

Does anyone know of any industries where trade shows are growing?

Webcomic Panels and conventions (these are often real artists who sell physical copies of their comics in book form). Someone else mentioned PAX too, which has developer booths, and console stands from the big 3. Where industries are turning to the internet to solve the cost problem of actually meeting people, internet communities are starting to hold conventions to solve the public relations problem of not actually being able to meet anyone... the result? More fun conventions for me to visit.

Re:*ALL* trade shows suffering? (1)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18866483)

Does anyone know of any industries where trade shows are growing?

Many of the comic trade shows have been increasing in size fairly steadily over the past few years, although the big Comic Con in San Diego has been mostly taken over by Hollywood and pays less attention to comics than it should. Well, I guess it's still growing, it's just not nearly as focused as it has been in the past.

The attendees... (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#18857813)

1C Company, Activision, Akella, Atari, Atlus, Disney Interactive Studios, Capcom, Codemasters, Crave Entertainment, Eidos, Electronic Arts, Konami, LucasArts, Majesco, Microsoft, Midway, Namco Bandai Games, NCsoft, Nintendo, Sega, Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony Online Entertainment, Square Enix, Take-Two Interactive, THQ, Ubisoft, Vivendi Games, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

Well, I've never heard of 7 of these, but the overwhelming showing by established entertainment corporations does suggest that E3 is a pretty sleepy place if you're interested in new ideas. On the other hand, many of these companies are umbrellas for multiple studios (e.g., Blizzard-Vivendi)...

Small devs and E3 (2, Insightful)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 7 years ago | (#18857831)

Well, there are only going to be 4000 invitations sent out. From the smaller developer's point of view, there's no point in paying the high cost to get a booth, transporting yourself and everything you need for the booth, getting some game demos set up, etc. just for 4000 people who are much more interested in seeing what Nintendo, Capcom, and Konami have to offer anyway. It's a sad truth but there are better and cheaper ways to reach those kind of numbers. Last year when there were 60,000 attendees, it was probably worth it, but we're looking at less than 10% of last year's numbers in terms of booths and attendees. Sounds like just what the E3 planners wanted.

Re:Small devs and E3 (3, Interesting)

Z0mb1eman (629653) | more than 7 years ago | (#18858395)

I always thought E3 was for the press, not for the general public (yes, anyone can get in if they try hard enough, but that's not the point).

Showing your product to 4000 journalists (or bloggers or online comic authors I guess) is very different from showing your product to 4000 random gamers. My guess is companies go hoping their game will receive some of the buzz in the E3 coverage on gaming sites and magazines, and not for the E3 attendants themselves.

Re:Small devs and E3 (3, Insightful)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 7 years ago | (#18858679)

That's a good point, as the E3 of old was saturated with so many non-journalists and/or bloggers. However, that would also allow game information to be spread in a lot of unique ways that won't be as readily available anymore. I guess we'll have to wait and see how it all pans out, because this event is really not the same as it was before.

Re:Small devs and E3 (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 7 years ago | (#18859711)

Problem is they'll likely realize in a year or two the industry needs E3. It's a kind of industry cheer thing (and forces devs to show what they've been doing), and the internet is just to big to get your independent game noticed otherwise.

Re:Small devs and E3 (1)

Castar (67188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18862093)

Actually, E3 was only partially for the press. It was mostly for the distributors - I heard people say that the most important person there was the VP from Walmart. The spectacle and the demos and so forth are for selling the game to consumers through the press, sure, but they're also for selling the game to the distributors (and less so these days, selling the game to the publishers).

Personally, I'll miss E3 trips, expense accounts, and parties...

Barker Hangar? That's moving downscale. (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18857945)

E3 is at Barker Hangar, the big WWII metal Quonset hut at Santa Monica Airport? That's moving downscale from the LA Convention Center. Way downscale. That place is used for flea markets and remainder sales.

"The Barker Hangar venue, a short drive from the hotels, will allow participating companies to showcase their games in standardized, turnkey displays areas ranging from 100 square feet to 400 square feet. All display areas will be developed by show management to ensure that the venue is staged efficiently."

Other cutbacks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18858709)

The downscaling of E3 affects everyone involved. Word is this year, the cutbacks are so severe that this year's booth babes are being forced to share communal breast implants.

Old E3 reborn as "E For All" (1)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 7 years ago | (#18861265)

Well, what E3 was in the past has now been reborn as a new convention: E For All Expo [] .

Drug references aside it seems to be the spiritual successor to E3, except this time, it's open to the public. Past E3 attendees have already received special early-order invites and ticket purchase will be open to the public in June.

"E For All" != E3 (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18861661)

I somehow doubt that any expo that allows kids under the age of 13 to attend is going to be anything like E3.

My guess is that it will look more like the worlds biggest GameStop than the professional hype-engine that fueled crazy talk in gaming rags.

If.. (2, Insightful)

Mockylock (1087585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18861733)

If they really wanted the numbers to rise, and keep things fresh, they need to change it up a bit.
Possibly MOVE the fucking show to somewhere else, at least a different area? Last year it was look at as one of the most dull shows, with very few stand-out booths.
I understand that it's the original home and such, but I'm sure quite a few places would like to mix up the flavor and spend less money in accomodations.

Duh? (1)

crhylove (205956) | more than 7 years ago | (#18862277)

The whole game market is fragmented and sucking. Innovation over the last decade: San Andreas?

Eight platforms (Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2, PS3, Wii, Windows, DS, PSP), and each one has about two good games. And those "good" games are just serial improvements of games from the previous generation.

It's a wonder anybody spends any money at all on games these days. Maybe if we had a truly good and cross platform computer gaming infrastructure (OpenGL on steroids?), there would at least be a market for computer games, and maybe independent publishers could start publishing FUN games again, rather than BORING sequels.

I specialize in wishful thinking on /.


I can think of a solution to boost numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18863981)

Bring back the booth babes!

fewer companies? no problem... (1)

Axis of Weasel (700706) | more than 7 years ago | (#18864605)

so long as the booth babes are still there / i have a chance // no really i do /// i must believe i do //// ...time to go home alone ///// again

E3 Observations (LA, May 16-18,1996) [LONG] (1)

website design (1093011) | more than 7 years ago | (#18867911)

The second annual E3 (Electronics Entertainment Expo) was held in Los Angeles again this year. From what I've heard, every last square foot of floor space had been sold and over 80,000 people showed up for the three day event. The show was geared more towards the home videogame market, but there was a good selection of dedicated upright machines to be found. I'll limit my comments below to those topics that pertain to arcade machines and current and classic video games available on home systems. For more on the subject you shall better visit me at :flash web design [] Nintendo has seemingly withdrawn from the the arcade manufacturing arena. I guess they're making too much money on all their home and portable game systems to be bothered with the dwindling arcade market. I played a preliminary version of Nintendo 64's Crusin' USA. There's still a fair amount of work to be done on the title (including bug fixes), but it would be my guess that this home version will still be somewhat scaled down from the real version even in it's final state. I didn't bother playing any of the other N64 titles like Killer Instinct.
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