Is This Year The Last Hurrah For The Games Expo As We Know It?

I had lunch with a friend and colleague on Thursday, a guy who has been to every E3 — and before that he was going to the Consumer Electronics Show when it was the gaming industry's big expo. Absent some miracle hardware reveal, he thinks we could see the quietest and most depressing E3 ever this year. I hate to say it, but I have the same fear.

Look at the casualties. The biggest, of course, is THQ, which has no cash to spend on its usual garish presence in Los Angeles, which over the years has included a bikini car wash last year (pictured), giant mecha suits, and a regiment of conscripted Korean army troops. Not only is THQ not going to E3, it's not going to Gamescom in Germany, either. Nor is Nintendo. Nor, reports GamesIndustry International, is Sega.

E3 may get a lot of attention by virtue of being the biggest gaming expo in the US, where a lot of the noisiest games press is based. But it's an industry-only affair. Gamescom is the real major on the series, bringing more than 275,000 attendees, as it welcomes press, industry and consumer alike. If you're skipping that, you're skipping out on showing product directly to the customer, not through the filter of sore-footed, bleary-eyed, BO-emitting writers like me.

So much is up in the air right now. Growth seems to be in mobile gaming, Facebook games and free-to-play browser-based offerings, which aren't subjects treated with much seriousness by those who enjoy reading about video games with regularity. Distribution on the next console will almost assuredly be digital, meaning the traditional retail model that drives these expos is also lumbering toward the ivory graveyard. That's assuming console gaming maintains any kind of strength; the sales slump and contraction of product offerings there shows no signs of slowing down.

It's easy to point to THQ and Sega's fiscal woes as the reason they're not going to the big parties this year. But then, neither is Blizzard, Valve and Rockstar have been notoriously absent in years when they don't have much to show, too. Depending on what isn't announced this year, we could be seeing the last hurrah for the traditional gaming expos. We could be seeing their last hurrah depending on what is revealed, too.


    The console sales slump probably has something to do with the fact that they've been out for so long! Everyone already has one! We desperately need new hardware to bring some spice and excitement back!

    2nd from the right.............

      Really? Her... alright. I'll take the one of the left.

        Why am I not surprised?

        My fault I guess for embiggening the image.

          Ah, just harmless fun Logan :)

            Oh, I don't mind at all. :)

              The far right! After removing the hooker piercing.

                I do not think that will get rid of the hooker look.

                Head of the far left, on the body of the middle left

                permanently scrunched up nose

        Teemo has it spot on ;)

          Never underestimate the power of the scout's code... when it comes to women ;)

            Second from the left
            bewbz! ( . Y . )

              Agreed, second form the left.

                I can not believe it's taken THIS long to get the correct answer. C'mon guys, COME.... ON.

                +1 Second from the left fo sho

      has a mo..

      first on the left's head... 2nd from the left's body.

        Frankenbabe is super hot and I love that she'd have wicked kinky neck scars.

      ........has a moustache.

      Is that a 5 o-clock shadow?

        Bah, damn confusing threading.

    I'll take the two in the middle then.

    Man this sucks. Hope it's just a one off. Totally agree with Dan though, everyone who was going to buy a 360/PS3/Wii has one already. Can't wait for the next gen.

    hey, we all read playboy for the articles... right??

    I'll take whichever one will take me.

    I'm not sure what shows like this do for game sales, but they suck for the dev team. Whenever you need to put a build out for a show you have to put proper work on hold and apply a bunch of tweaks/polish that are often deleted later. It's annoying as hell.

    For the workers who don't get the fun of the show, this wouldn't actually be the worst thing in the world.

    Tits or GTFO! Oh wait... They have!!!

    PAX though seems to be growing every year, so I don't think it's the end of the game expos as we know it just yet.

    Tokyo Games Show is also incredibly large every year. I think it's secret is having open to the public days

    E3 can rot in hell for all I care. The other shows will continue you are just being melodramatic.

    Yeah this ramping up to be a hella boring E3. Don't forget that Valve said they're announcing nothing just because.

    No idea what this is about. I just click because of boobs.

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