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The Life and Death of E for All (Part 1) December 8, 2010

Posted by Maniac in Histories, The Life and Death of E For All.
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The year was 2006 and the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the biggest gaming trade show in the world, was starting to get a little long in the tooth.  Formerly an essential trade show where companies could court retailers on what products would be coming out in the next year, by 2006 the show had become a media circus full of loud noises, giant screens, and scantily clad women.  Oh boy, was it heaven on earth.

The suits were starting to complain.  It was becoming harder and harder for the corporate end of gaming to operate.  The backroom deals that were essential for game promotion and sales were taking a backseat to the media circus on the outside.  They didn’t like it was getting harder to navigate through the show floor to go from one scheduled meeting to another.

The gamers were starting to complain.  What was originally a venue for game developers to announce major news, show new footage, and premiere new games was getting wrapped up in its own hype machine.  While these things were still being done, in order to stand out in the organized chaos and attract attention to their games, the developers and publishers would compete at things like who could have the loudest music, the biggest screen, and the prettiest supermodels to attract publicity and get press to cover their game, instead of the merits of how good the game played.  What used to be a show of substance had become a show of hype and little else.  What’s more, new trailers barely had actual gameplay footage in them and playable demos of games would rarely be provided unless the game was very close to release.

The ESA, who ran E3, decided enough was enough and it was time for a change.  They discontinued the E3 as we had known it, instead deciding to shift to a smaller more manageable show and E3 as we knew it was gone.  A power vacuum formed among the game trade show organizations.  E3 was the unquestionable king of trade shows, and with it gone, another show, either new or currently existing, would have to take the crown as the new leader.  TGS, PAX, GAME and GDC were ready to ramp up their shows, and the developers were happy to increase their spending in those shows to make up for E3’s loss.

But a new trade show was ready to step in, planning to take E3’s crown for themselves by being everything E3 was and more.  They were going to be in the exact same place as E3 was, the Los Angeles Convention Center, and they promised their game developers would be there, ready to show their games to the gamers.  The improvement they would have with their show was that unlike E3, they promised to open their show to the public.  Their name, after being picked in an internet contest, would fittingly be E for All (E4), and they were ready to step in for their first show, which would be in October 2007.

Little did the attendees know that what they were anticipating would end up being a massive disappointment.

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