Past attendees of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, will notice some changes in next year's event, organizers say.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) said E3, slated for June 2-4, 2009, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, will have larger booths, a larger and more qualified audience, and a focus on reinforcing innovation and entertainment in the computer and video-game industry.
Changes were necessary, according to ESA officials, who after conducting qualitative and quantitative research decided to change their focus in order to meet the demands of exhibitors and attendees.
"E3 2009 will be a smarter, more effective and strategic show where we will take the best practices of all shows and apply them to create the best event for the computer and video game industry," said ESA spokesperson Dan Hewitt.
ESA is opening the expo to international and U.S.-based media, industry analysts, retailers, developers and business partners.
Exhibit floors will include the latest in interactive entertainment and technology. Press conferences will be held by both the console companies and third-party publishers, and private meetings will be held by top game-company executives, according to ESA. Attendance is expected to reach between 40,000 and 45,000.
Big and Flashy
From its start in 1995, the ESA's event was flashy, including large, extravagant parties, drawing in tens of thousands of people who attended for a glimpse of the latest and greatest in video and computer games. The expo even included actors such as Vin Diesel and skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, who were brought in by publishers to promote games.
It was considered the place for video-game developers to show off their newest innovations. Publishers did not hold back and spent millions of dollars on their elaborate displays to show off their latest work.
That all ended in July 2006, when organizers said the event would be downsized and more focused, based on requests by major exhibitors. Organizers joined forces with another event dubbed Entertainment for All Expo in 2007.
The attendance decreased from a record 70,000 attendees in 2005 to between 3,000 and 5,000 in 2007. Attendance, according to ESA's Hewitt, is not how the group measures the success of the event. Despite the smaller audience, people publicly said that last year's event would probably be its last.
The decision to revert back to the heydays of a larger expo came after exhibitors wanted a show that would be a better reflection of innovation in the video-game industry, according to Hewitt.
"When we looked at '04, '05, and '06 models, the pendulum was swinging too far one way, and in '07 it swung too far in the other way," Hewitt said.
The pendulum is expected to stay still this coming year, and organizers plan to make the expected tens of thousands of attendees who walk the expo floor feel as though they are at an event that focuses on the industry and best represents the players in that industry.