The Entertainment Software Association today announced that the E3 Media & Business Summit will be returning to the spacious digs of the Los Angeles Convention Center for next year's event which will run from July 15 through July 17. But that doesn't mean that the new E3 is returning to its old ways.
'We are very much not going back to the old E3," Rich Taylor, senior vice president of communications and research for the ESA, told me in an interview. "I think we are all on the same page for the industry on what we want those days in July to be about."
"This is the new E3, new and improved."And that, according to Taylor, means the small, more intimate meetings of this year's E3. A toned-down affair that saw 3,000 to 4,000 attendees and whole lot less booth babes.
The decision to move back to the LA Convention Center came after Santa Monica's E3 this year was rife with complaints, mostly about the amount of walking people had to do to get to appointments. This year's E3 did away with the convention centre all together, hosting different publishers in suites at hotels spread out across Santa Monica. There was an exhibit hall, but it was not well attended, mostly because of its location and the fact that it wasn't anywhere near the hotels.
"We talked to many folks, participants on both the media and industry side of things, one of the overriding things they wanted was a more centralized facility," Taylor said. "That's one reason we moved back to the LA Convention Center... hotels are walking distance from the convention center, they're closer to each other..."
Taylor said that despite some people's fears, this year's smaller E3 managed to attract just as much media attention and he believes new E3s will continue to do so.
In the press release sent out this morning the ESA said the event will "continue to focus on the business of the computer and video game industry, with an emphasis on press events and small meetings with media, development, and other key sectors. While there will be opportunities for game demonstrations, the 2008 E3 Media & Business Summit will not feature the large trade show environment of previous years."
Next year's E3 exhibitors will include both ESA and non-ESA members and range the gamut from online and mobile to PC and console gaming. As with last year, attendance at all events, meetings and demonstrations will be invitation only. Media attendance will also remain by invitation only, with attending companies having a say in who gets invited.
"The US is the world's number one video game market and the E3 Media & Business Summit is its premier video game conference. The 2008 Summit will provide a professional and efficient environment for suite-based meetings with media, and other industry leaders," said Michael D. Gallagher, CEO of the ESA, which represents US computer and video game publishers and owns the E3 Media & Business Summit. "We look forward to welcoming the media and top industry executives to a centralized, business focused and personalised experience. Our program of high-level meetings, networking and personal dialogue, and industry-shaping panel discussions will capture the explosive growth we have seen in 2007 and lay the foundation for the 2008 video game marketplace."
Taylor declined to say whether future E3s will be at the LA Convention Center or whether any sort of multi-year contract was signed.
"We are pretty laser focused on making July a success right now," he said.
More details are expected to hit in the coming months, but for now colour me... strangely undecided.