The announcement hit the Internet with an almost audible bang a couple of weeks ago. Amidst rumors for years that game publishers were thinking about pulling out of the Entertainment Software Associationís annual E3 trade show over cost concerns, the ESA finally announced that E3 2007 would be a far more slimmed down affair; no huge convention center with massive booths, monitors, lights, sounds, celebs and booth babes, but a more subdued show with meetings in hotel rooms and suites and an attendance of between 6,000 to 10,000 (depending on which interview ESA president Doug Lowenstein was conducting).
Reactions have been somewhat mixed. Some feel the new E3 and its new date of July rather than May will help publishers show off upcoming games to retailers and the press in a more complete state rather than rushing to do a playable demo in May. Others feel the new E3 show will not garner the massive mainstream media attention that has been given to the video and PC game industry at previous expos.
While there are still questions about how the new E3 will finally shape up (our repeated requests for interviews about the subject with the ESA have been denied with a spokesperson telling FiringSquad they are no longer commenting on their E3 plans for the time being) there is no question that there has been a flurry of press releases from other trade shows and consumer conventions in the past two weeks. All of these press releases, along with comments in interviews, are saying that they will be beefing up their own video and PC gaming portions to fill the void that the ESA has given them with the reduced E3.
However, itís also certain that not all of these events will become as massive and as important to the gameís industry as the old E3 has been. So which one will step into the trade show ring and come out on top? FiringSquad has been checking out the various press releases and comments from publishers in the last few weeks and we have our predictions on which events will become the new E3.
Leipiziq Game Convention (August)
With the demise of the London based ECTS trade show a couple of years ago, the German based Leipiziq Game Convention has become in a short time the biggest video and PC game trade show in Europe. Open to both the press and public, organizers are already predicting attendance that will reach 150,000 for this yearís show. Furthermore, game publishers are bringing new builds of games that were only shown behind closed doors at E3 just a few months ago or not shown at all, including playable demos of Command and Conquer 3, Spore and Valveís triple threat of Half-Life Episode 2/Team Fortress 2/Portal. Also, Nintendo is expected to announce new info regarding their upcoming Wii console at Leipiziq.
Prediction For New E3: Highly Probable. Itís in August, which means closer to fall for game companies to push their holiday game releases. It also has tons of people attending with lots of media coverage and even a lot of US based journalists are making plans to attend. The biggest handicap Leipiziq has is that we think publishers would also like to show off upcoming products in the US market as well around that time. With the new E3 moving from May to July, next year will be a defining moment for the German convention to see if it can retain all the attention it has garnered in the past few years.