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E For All Attendance Lackluster

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the e-for-not-that-many-people-really dept.

E3 50

Despite the upbeat tone of IDG's official release about the first 'E for All', commentators are noting that the reported figure of 18,000 attendees is lower than expected. Wired is blunt about it: E For All has nothing on PAX. "Penny Arcade Expo was everything E For All dreams of being: a well-attended show packed wall-to-wall with crazy game fans. But it's also inexpensive: three days and two nights of musical performances for way, way less money than an E For All ticket, let alone the additional cost of Video Games Live. And it's got a whole mess of community events, like panels, gaming rooms, and other opportunities that make E For All's extracurriculars look slim. The show floor is just one part of PAX, but it's practically all of E For All."

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Attendance lackluster (1, Offtopic)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 7 years ago | (#21074357)

And nobody on slashdot cares. I mean, seriously, first post here is low hanging fruit...you're think some AC would have jumped on this...

Re:Attendance lackluster (1)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | about 7 years ago | (#21074401)

I tripped up logging in. Cut me some slack here. :-p

Re:Attendance lackluster (2, Funny)

aicrules (819392) | about 7 years ago | (#21075735)

I cared, but I was too busy waiting for the line to open for tickets to next year's show to post on Slashdot...

Next year (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | about 7 years ago | (#21074377)

And next year they plan to run the same weekend as PAX. Do they want to fail so they can blame PAX and not their horrible attempt at a game show?

Re:Next year (1)

rk (6314) | about 7 years ago | (#21074439)

If that's the case, it would be a pretty stupid way of going about it. I mean, "we failed because everyone wanted to go to PAX instead!" is basically the same as saying "PAX is better than us and beat us."

Re:Next year (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | about 7 years ago | (#21074515)

The PA guys even said they called the E for All president and she said she would get back to them but never did. I mean, I could care less if they crash and burn, but you'd think after this lackluster start they'd rethink their plans if they do indeed want to succeed.

Re:Next year (1)

Lumpmoose (697966) | about 7 years ago | (#21075117)

Hopefully they'll stop their obstructive marketing [penny-arcade.com] in front of PAX, since they'll be 2 states away.

Re:Next year (1)

rkanodia (211354) | about 7 years ago | (#21076077)

If by 'obstructive', you mean 'people were standing on a public street handing out fliers', then yes, E for All had a lot of 'obstructive marketing' in front of PAX.

Re:Next year (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | about 7 years ago | (#21075607)

I suspect that they'll offer a 'strategic partnership' to PAX, and/or try to lure exhibitors, performers and vital staff away. Staging both conventions on the same weekend would mean that those so targeted would have to make a serious choice about which to attend.

Re:Next year (1)

Tuidjy (321055) | about 7 years ago | (#21075609)

Stupid. I flew north for PAX, and I couldn't bother checking
'E for whatever' in my backyard, on a weekend when the winds
kept me mostly indoor. I can simply not imagine why they
would set themselves in direct opposition to something that
it ten times as fun, and why they would force industry
representatives and gamers to choose between the two.

Soo (2, Insightful)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | about 7 years ago | (#21074413)

So it appears that a Video Gaming convention organized by videogamers for fun not only gets more attendance but is also considered more impressive by the media than a convention put on primarily for money and advertising. I feel like I should be unimpressed, kinda like a 'duh' thing, but then I remember how big E3 was even though it was quite low-quality. I'm quite happy that E for All didn't do so well, their attitude towards PAX and gamers in general was quite arrogant and getting taken down a notch is never bad for big execs. I'm also glad that it appears that the majority of gamers are more concerned with good entertainment and discussions rather than simply addicted to cons.

All in all I'd say this is good news.

Re:Soo (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21074881)

I feel like I should be unimpressed, kinda like a 'duh' thing, but then I remember how big E3 was even though it was quite low-quality.

E3 was fine for what it was supposed to be. It's when it turned into a gamer convention instead of the industry show it was that it fell apart.

Re:Soo (1)

Sta7ic (819090) | about 7 years ago | (#21074883)

Agreed.

When I was going over the E4E flier I was handed outside PAX, it felt much more like they were doing the whole thing for a buck, rather than because they wanted to bring all the crazy fans together to meet the people behind the screen names, play games, and have fun.

PAX is more of a social gathering that mutated into something unexpected, which you can't duplicate without something that draws people at its core.

Re:Soo (1)

Lisandro (799651) | about 7 years ago | (#21075899)

I'm also glad that it appears that the majority of gamers are more concerned with good entertainment and discussions rather than simply addicted to cons.

So the majority of gamers are wannabe criminals! [imdb.com] . Jack Thompson was right!

What do they expect? (1)

Kilraven (1101873) | about 7 years ago | (#21074621)

Honestly, can anyone name one convention/show/expo that had phenomenal attendance its first time out? There's still hesitation, it doesn't matter that this tried riding on the coattails of a bygone E3 or not. Give them a few years and they may see great attendance (doubtful, but that's me), but to believe they were going to get huge numbers is just ignorant.

Hell, they could've had free prostitutes, gumdrop slides, lollipop gardens, and a playable SSBM and I still would've have gone - couldn't trust they'd have cleaner, more attractive hookers E3 and Leipzig gets.

Sure, PAX (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 7 years ago | (#21074853)

I wasn't there but even the first PAX was packed to the gills beyond what they had expected. That's a convention I've wanted to attend from the first.

Re:Sure, PAX (1)

Kilraven (1101873) | about 7 years ago | (#21074899)

Nah, PAX only did like 3k its first year, not to mention a much smaller venue.

Constrained by size (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 7 years ago | (#21075503)

Sure PAX did only 3k the first year - because it sold out. It could have done more easily. They only really advertised on Penny Arcade itself!

That is what I mean by a success right out the gate, rather than a convention heavily advertised with sparse attendance. Success is in exceeding goals that you set, not in any absolute numbers. You can't arbitrarily set an exact attendance figure for which any class of convention is considered a success or not, it's all relative to the intent of the organizers and expectations of the attendees (vendors and participants).

Re:Constrained by size (1)

Kilraven (1101873) | about 7 years ago | (#21076545)

It didn't sell out it's first year. Granted, it did far better than most nascent expos, but it didn't sell out.

Success for a convention/expo/show/festival is always based on attendance, both visitors and exhibitors, without which you have no future. You go in expecting/hoping for a number which correlates to interest (not to mention recouping losses), which, if your goal is met, you could repeat your event the following year. And if you exceed? Awesome! Consider changing venues, increasing exhibitor space, etc., for the following year. Major difference between PAX '04 and E4All '07 is efficient use of floor space, but that happens when a few major players bolt after the venue is reserved. So I guess we're somewhat in agreement, other than the PAX '04 and phenomenal numbers thing.

E for All, in my opinion, did better than to be expected. PAX, its first year, did better than expected. Neither of them were phenomenal, nor should they have been expected. Honestly, how many people out there are willing to throw down airfare, hotel stay, and an admission ticket for something that has no prior history? I didn't do it for the first PAX or E4All, but I do for PAX now. Will I go to E4All next year - who knows?

Actually E3 was huge from the start. (1)

gmezero (4448) | about 7 years ago | (#21077543)

Let's see... E3 was Manufacturers, Distributors, Retailers, Press, Fan-press (when they could lie convincingly enough to get past teh registration nazis), and .... developers.

The new E3 was Manufacturers, Distributors, Retailers, maybe press.

Let's see E For All was Manufacturers, maybe press, and fanboys.

And they failed why? Because the cut out the drunken developers who all went to GDC. Partay!!! W00t!@ ... who I might add went to PAX as well . Hmmm.

The answer is obvious... (1)

lpangelrob (714473) | about 7 years ago | (#21074645)

More models. Preferably the hot female variety. If they happen to look elvish, all the better!

Re:The answer is obvious... (1)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | about 7 years ago | (#21075405)

Actually, the "Booth babes" at E4All were extremely, extremely annoying (at least in the SSBB section). Sufficiently so that, even though the sound was recorded, the creators of many videos that came from E4All were kind enough to just rip out the sound and put some videogame music over it. Everyone in the Smash section that I talked to mentioned how horribly annoying they were. This may be the first time in my life that I'd have preferred *less* hot females. E4All could have done a lot to increase attendance. Less annoying high pitched whines in the background would have been the biggest possible improvement, even if it was at the cost of eye-candy.

Re:The answer is obvious... (1)

Toonol (1057698) | about 7 years ago | (#21077945)

I'm not quite sure what you're saying. The booth babes were all too noisy? Were they singing or yelling, or are you just objecting to their voices? I can't imagine the cons (NOISY babes) outweighing the pros (noisy BABES).

You'd think it be attended well (2, Funny)

sdkramer (411640) | about 7 years ago | (#21074675)

with a name like "E for all" I'd think at least Club Kids would show up in hopes of free Ecstacy.

For another opinion of attendance. (1)

AltGrendel (175092) | about 7 years ago | (#21074895)

Try the RvB comic [redvsblue.com] .

E for Blah... was at Pax (3, Interesting)

dcowart (13321) | about 7 years ago | (#21075185)

Gabe has the details at:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/2007/08/29 [penny-arcade.com]

"For example I had no idea that e for all had hired guerrilla marketers to wander the streets..."

Read below that for the story about the drunk vgXpo guy.

High Ticket Price? (2, Informative)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | about 7 years ago | (#21075363)

I considered buying tickets because my brother was interested in going, but I balked at the price of entry. I'm not too surprised by the sparse attendance.

So the news is... (1)

TwoTongue (576232) | about 7 years ago | (#21075415)

So the "news" this article presents is that E4... isn't... newsworthy? Am I missing something here?

Poorly thoughtout convention has poor turnout (2, Interesting)

MMaestro (585010) | about 7 years ago | (#21075569)

Any serious analyst saw this coming for months. They hosted the event in California where any serious hype would simply be reserved for E3 (ever hear of market saturation?) The price of entry was too high ($90 for the weekend? I've been to anime conventions larger than E for All for almost half that price) and lets face it, California is not exactly the easiest place to get around (or cheapest). They managed to get Nintendo and EA and ignored/failed to get everyone else (wheres Ubisoft, Microsoft and Sony?).

Re:Poorly thoughtout convention has poor turnout (1)

Psychochild (64124) | more than 6 years ago | (#21079767)

Actually, this was one part of what the old E3 became. E3 used to be really overcrowded and it was hard to get any "real" business done. And this was despite the old E3 being in California and being rather expensive (if you couldn't sleaze in on a free industry-only pass), so I don't think you can blame those for being reasons for the lackluster conference. So, now there's E3 which is invite-only and intended for game developers and publishers and press. "E for All" was intended to be something the game fans could go to, and a place for the larger companies to do their big announcements like they did at E3.

Unfortunately, it was a lose/lose situation. They made the change because most people found the old E3 increasingly useless. But, the new conferences don't replace the old E3. It looks like PAX is quickly taking the lead as the conference to attend for gaming.

Re:Poorly thoughtout convention has poor turnout (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 6 years ago | (#21080017)

E3 used to be really overcrowded and it was hard to get any "real" business done.

And whose fault was that? I was reading articles written by news companies complaining about the lax screening process for years (Gamespy once posted a photo of 9 year old at E3 several years ago) and we ended up with a knee-jerk reaction by the ESA (which was to basically restart E3 supposed "the way it was supposed to be" never mind the fact that practically half of the show was axed).

And this was despite the old E3 being in California and being rather expensive (if you couldn't sleaze in on a free industry-only pass), so I don't think you can blame those for being reasons for the lackluster conference.

Its not the cost of entry thats the deal-breaker for many people, its the travel expenses. NO ONE in the past complained about E3 costs because either you had a business expense account you could use or you weren't supposed to be there in the first place in which case you kept your mouth shut. Simple as that.

Who's The Target Here? (1)

blueZhift (652272) | about 7 years ago | (#21075963)

First, I would say that 18000 is not too shabby for a first time effort. Second, I would say that Nintendo's appearance there makes me wonder about who the target audience really is. It's no secret that Nintendo is targeting the so called casual gamer very successfully with the Wii, DS, and a lot of kick ass 1st party software. I don't think that Nintendo hates hardcore gamers (at least not yet), but their attendance at E For All tells me that they were expecting a healthy showing of casual gamers.

PAX is a great event, but it seems pretty obvious that PAX is known by and driven by the hardcore gamer. Sure, plenty of casual gamers will show up too, but I don't think there will be many of these folks flying across the country for the event. They wouldn't be flying in just for E for All either, but they may be going to LA, a major tourist destination, for other reasons.

Scheduling E for All against PAX is stupid, but even with that, I think that if E for All cuts their ticket prices, and holds on to Nintendo and a few others, they should be able to grow. The hardcore will go to PAX, and everyone else to E for...well everyone else...

Re:Who's The Target Here? (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 6 years ago | (#21079703)

But they're not marketing it as a first-time expo. They're marketing it as the successor to E3, they've chosen a similar name "E4 All", and have people like Tommy Tallarico pimping it as "E4".

This year, those 18000 attendees were probably mostly drawn in by the attempt to tie it to E4. Now, the cat is out of the bag. The media has more or less panned the event, and playing the E3 card isn't going to work again.

Next year, they'll be going up against PAX, which was likely double E4A's size this year. PAX tends to double their attendance every year, so it's no stretch to think that next year's PAX could easily reach 60k attendees.

Can E4A really compete with that? I wouldn't be surprised if E4A actually shrunk next year, or grew only slightly.

On the other hand, it's not too late for IDG to save their event. All they need to do is reschedule at least a month (or three) in either direction, and drop the major arrogance. For example, performing guerrilla marketing outside PAX 2007 wasn't a very smart move.

Re:Who's The Target Here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21082437)

Speaking as a long time hardcore gamer, and a fan of PA - PA is huge in our community, it doesnt matter whether that's hardcore FPS, RTS, or MMO's (I've been all three, sometimes all at once). Guerilla Marketing against PAX is not only dumb because your fighting an established opponent who has done this for years now, its majorly retarded because your actually alienating many of us just on principle. Hardcore gaming and PA are intertwined, trying to fight PAX is literally like trying to fight the hardcore community - and isnt the point to attract us? Way to fail miserably convention noobs, next time aim for the medic: not the heavy.

Re:Who's The Target Here? (1)

taumeson (240940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084919)

The attendance for E4 was at most 9,000 -- 18,000 was turnstile and take into consideration that you had to buy at least a 2 day pass. PAX had something like 14,000 concurrent attendees Saturday afternoon. Their turnstile was the afore mentioned 34K.

Keep in mind that PAX sold so many one day badges that they RAN OUT this year and had to make more. Their actual attendance was much closer to turnstile than E4's.

I can guarantee you that E4 included distributors, booth babes and maintenance people in their attendance numbers.

Video Games Live on 10/19/2007. (1)

antdude (79039) | about 7 years ago | (#21076271)

Did anyone go to it? My friend and I did. We're old school gamers (80s). It was mostly fun especially in the new Nokia Theater [nokiatheatrelalive.com] (second day of its opening; don't think all 7,000 seats were taken/sold out), but our seats sucked (front on the right; map seems to be inaccurate but I noticed the front has lower numbers than the back in the orchestra area). It was nice to hear all the old favorite game music (e.g., Rastan, Frogger, Outrun, Gauntlet). There were problems as well like Frogger didn't work in a competition, very crowded, no preshow events (what the heck?), computer and lights went out before we went in, etc. I'm glad I didn't pay more than 50 bucks (30 bucks + fees + $5 parking) for this event since anything higher is a ripoff IMO.

Re:Video Games Live on 10/19/2007. (1)

MaineCoon (12585) | about 7 years ago | (#21076627)

I didn't go to E For All (bleh, I couldnt stand going to E3, skipped out on it last couple years despite my free industry pass), but I did go to VGL. It was only about half full. I went to VGL last year as well, at the Hollywood Bowl. The music selection this year was better (they ditched the 10 minute "Advent Rising" selection), but the Nokia Theater has horrible acoustics (echoes), very uncomfortable seats, and the food prices are abominable.

I won't be going to VGL LA 2008 if its at the Nokia Theater, but I will consider going to see it again if it is at the Hollywood Bowl.

Re:Video Games Live on 10/19/2007. (1)

antdude (79039) | about 7 years ago | (#21076937)

I didn't notice any echoes where I sat. Where did you sit (My friends and I were in J 118 and 119)? We just didn't have a good view (had to watch the left monitor and the conductor a lot. Hollywood Bowl is better (isn't that 2005, not 2006)? Interesting. I didn't think the audio would be better in an outdoor environment.

Re:Video Games Live on 10/19/2007. (1)

neminem (561346) | more than 6 years ago | (#21082339)

I was at the show as well, also in crappy seats (near the front, but way off to the side). I also only paid 50 bucks including fees and parking, but probably would have paid a little more if I'd had to. Despite the problems, VGL is still an absolutely amazing show (even if about half the music isn't new, if you've got a collection of old arranged game music from Japan like I do), and in any case, I like to give money to the cause of making game music an economic success here the way it is in Japan.

Still, while VGL was, overall a success, I heard from a close friend that E4All was anything but. Heard it was pretty lame, in fact, and I trusted his opinions on things like that. I've definitely gathered, independently of this post, that E4All was a lackluster imitation of the old E3, while PAX was the real thing. I still really want to go to PAX sometime...

Re:Video Games Live on 10/19/2007. (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21083355)

I am not surprised by E4All after E3 went byebye. Which side were you at Nokia theater? Left or right? My friend and I were in J row at 118-119.

I was there. (1)

Hodr (219920) | about 7 years ago | (#21076383)

Thay managed only to fill the main hall (and just barely) of the convention center with vendors and while there were a couple fun things to do (I must have wasted 3 hours on the Halo3 LAN setup) and contests to win, I easily saw everything in the show the first day. So I did not bother to show up for the other three that I paid for.

That said, it wasn't a total waste. The lack of "crowding" made it a bit more enjoyable (didn't feel like I needed to rush everywhere or plow my way through crowds).

Rockstar had a nice setup to promote their new games (GH3 Blah, RockBand Yeah!), there was a huge x.360 lan setup, Intel gave away nice airplane pillows, and more t-shirts than the last 3 E3's combined.

Re:I was there. (1)

taumeson (240940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21084883)

I've seen pictures of the whole show -- the main floor wasn't filled. They were about 30% empty and so they had a lot of movable expo-walls (those huge black pieces of fabric that are like 20 feet high) brought in to make it look more compact.

Everybody serious goes to GDC (1)

Animats (122034) | about 7 years ago | (#21077083)

The trade convention is now the Game Developers' Conference [gdconf.com] . That's where both the technical people and executives now go. Sessions like "Know Your Players: An In-Depth Look at Player Behavior and Consumer Demographics" and "10 Steps to Success in Outsourcing Contracts" are attended by suits and management level technical people. "Meeting Players Halfway: Using Adaptive Systems to Prevent Player Frustration" gets game designers. The more theoretical game programmers go to talks like "Skinning with Dual Quaternions".

GDC has replaced E3 as the working convention for the game industry. That's where you make deals. It's all pros, no fanboys.

There's also the Hollywood Games Summit [hollywoodandgames.com] , where the game industry suits meet the film industry suits. Sponsored by AFTRA, Sony, ILM, IBM, ILM, Paramount, TBS, WB, NBC, FOX... That costs $800 to attend, but they throw in subscriptions to both Game Developer and the Hollywood Reporter. Plus you get to go to the "Deal Makers Martini Reception".

So that's what really replaced E3.

Where is the hype? (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about 7 years ago | (#21078599)

E3 let the developers compete for eyeballs in a more honest way than normal PR (at the cost of having an extra huge milestone). That was rewarded with much more media hype and consumer interest than they are getting now AFAICS. Anyone can lie and get those lies spread by proxy, all it takes is money and no soul, shining at E3 took talent ... I don't think the loss of E3 was good for the good developers or even the industry as a whole.

GDC is not E3-part 2 (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 6 years ago | (#21080633)

The GDC is for Developers, not buyers or consumers.

E3 was (suppose to be) for buyers and media. E for All and PAX is for general gamers.

If I see cosplay people at the next GDC I'm getting my bat...

Re:GDC is not E3-part 2 (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21081147)

If I see cosplay people at the next GDC I'm getting my bat...

I once took an animator friend to GDC, dressed as a game warrior, with boots, short skirt, tank top, equipment belt, and fingerless gloves. She's from SF, where that's ordinary clubwear. She was an early Maya user, and stopped by the Maya booth to find out if some critical bugs were being fixed in the next release. The Maya people had real trouble dealing with a woman who looked like a booth babe but actually understood the product.

(This was back when Alias/Wavefront, out of Toronto, had Maya. They were somewhat conservative.)

Re:GDC is not E3-part 2 (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 6 years ago | (#21091161)

Hard to take somebody dressed up like a "game warrior" seriously? You're joking! ;)

drugs (1)

rpillala (583965) | about 7 years ago | (#21077741)

Not knowing what E For All was, I assumed it was Ecstasy for All. Which seems like it would be well attended.

E4 EMPTY (1)

Foo2rama (755806) | more than 6 years ago | (#21089981)

Yeah no one was there, we called it E4 empty.

Although the booth girl for K2 slinging the Free MMO Sword of the New World, was HAWT.
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