E3 Is Not Dunzo…

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On Sunday, Joystiq reported that next year’s E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) had been cancelled by the Entertainment Software Association.

And as it turned out, while the convention as we know it has indeed been cancelled, it will be significantly downsized and return in July instead of May:

GameSpot is reporting that ESA president Douglas Lowenstein has confirmed that E3 2007 will now take place in July.

After the announcement of its downsizing, GameSpot contributes an anonymous analyst saying that the new E3 will “give publishers more time to polish their holiday releases. Publishers apparently weren’t pleased at rushing their schedules to have late-year releases ready for the show each May.”

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In addition, E3 v2.0 will be rechristened as the E3 Media Festival, and it won’t be held at the L.A. Convention Center:

Speaking to the Wall St. Journal, ESA head honcho Doug Lowenstein said that E3 will now be called the “E3 Media Festival.” And, instead of hordes of fans and press attending, the event could now cater to around 5,000 (we’re assuming big press only). Also, no more convention center:

The smaller version, tentatively titled the E3 Media Festival, could occupy suites and conference rooms at two Los Angeles hotels with a target attendance of about 5,000, said Doug Lowenstein, president of the ESA, which voted to make the change Wednesday.

More after the jump.

Meanwhile, the economic impact to the L.A. area is absolutely staggering:

Prefacing its statements with the caveat “as currently envisioned,” the ESA said E3 2007 will still be held in Los Angeles, but won’t have the “large trade-show environment” of previous years. The city has previously estimated that the show brings in about $20 million in direct spending by the 60,000-plus attendees and exhibitors.

Sources have revealed to GameSpot that several publishers–including Sony, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and THQ–were among those pushing hardest for changes to the event. The companies’ motives were monetary in origin–floor space alone costs exhibitors over $12 million, and that number doesn’t include the cost of building out large-scale, elaborate booths or on-site marketing campaigns within the Los Angeles Convention Center. In addition, an estimated additional $50 to $70 million is spent on city services such as hotels, entertainment, and transportation, a vast portion of that coming from exhibitor employees.

Additional sources have informed GameSpot of how the ESA will recoup the massive amount of income it will lose from the fees it charges to E3 exhibitors and on-site marketers. According to several sources, a number of major publishers have agreed to pay the ESA as much as $5 million each to make up for lost revenues.

GameSpot has also learned that senior ESA staff met with officials from the City of Los Angeles this morning to discuss the impact that having a scaled-down event will have on the metropolis. Attorney Daniel Offner of Offner and Anderson, PC, a law firm that represents numerous E3 exhibitors past and present, thinks the city is likely to respond negatively to a smaller show. “I’d be surprised if the city took this lying down,” Offner told GameSpot. “I’m sure the city will take a close look at their [contractual] rights and try and protect them.”

One group that will clearly suffer from a downsized E3 is Los Angeles taxi drivers. “The youngsters spend a lot of money, and they don’t stay in one space,” said Nettabai Ahmed, president of Los Angeles’ Independent Taxi. “For taxis, it was really a good convention for us… A regular convention boosts the drivers’ income by about 25 to 30 percent. But E3, it goes up to 50 percent boost in their income.”

Ahmed estimated that each of the city’s 4,000 to 5,000 taxi drivers takes in an extra $500 to $700 during the expo. That’s not only the largest bump in income the drivers’ get each year, Ahmed said, but the largest they’ve received in decades, bested only by the 1994 World Cup and the 1984 Olympics.

4 Replies to “E3 Is Not Dunzo…”

  1. It seems to me like it’s taking exactly the opposite direction of Comi-Con, which is probably why they’re doing it. Comic-Con is the ultimate fan-oriented, open-to-the-public kind of event and that’s the kind of thing that a lot of the industry folks were complaining about E3 becoming. Making E3 smaller and more focused on industry-only creates a much different kind of beast.

  2. I agree with 5000!, that the gaming industry sees more value in advertising to the public at Comic-Con and wants to use E3 for what it’s intended, an industry-only confab. In fact, after last year’s E3, some gaming companies announced they were going to be scaling back at E3 and saving their money for flashy booths and displays at San Diego. There was HUGE vid-game presence at this year’s Con.

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