E3 is nearly upon us. But as the market transitions towards mobile and social, is it as relevant as it used to be? Rich Taylor of event organiser ESA tells Christopher Dring why E3 is stronger than ever...
What’s changed about E3 this year?
It is always evolving from year-to-year. We survey all of the attendees after each E3, and take into account the changes that they suggest, or we maintain the bits they like the best.
But one thing that will be noticed is the show reflecting the growth in the casual, mobile and online space. We have companies like Zynga and GREE at E3 for the first time, which is an indicator that the show is growing and appropriately reflective of the industry that it represents.
It is not a show that is rooted in a certain type of industry, but actually it is very much indicative of where the industry is in 2012.
What do you say to critics that suggest E3 is losing relevancy as our industry transitions towards online, mobile and social?
I respectively disagree with broad declarations that a show that hasn’t even occurred yet is irrelevant. Folks haven’t even seen or experienced what is going to take place.
The fact that Zynga and GREE – among others – are going to be there is reflective of a show that is very much relevant. Quite frankly there really isn’t a better amplifier for your new games and innovations than E3.
What happens in Los Angeles next month will be heard around the globe and echo through the months that follow. If E3 was somehow losing relevancy, I think we would be having a fire sale on exhibit space, but in reality it is the opposite.
We are packed to the gills in a fantastic way. I think it is going to be one of the strongest shows we have had in a long time.
The traditional games market across the globe is having a difficult time. What role can E3 play to help galvanise the market?
There is no better place or time, when the world is focused on video games, to roll out what it is you have to show for the coming months and in particular that valuable last quarter of the year.
We have seen time and time again publishers using E3 to pull back the curtain on a much anticipated title or brand new property. E3 does a great job of teeing that up and launching that excitement.
How has E3 been affected by the economic downturn? Have you had to help out companies that perhaps don’t have the budgets they’ve had in previous years?
If you have a budget as a company and you have to use it in the most effective way, one of the first things folks are realising is that E3 is a place they need to be.
It is not seen as a cost, for most folks who attend E3 they view it as a huge benefit. It really is the single most important event, not just for US companies, but for European and Asian interactive companies. No other show attracts so many industry decision makers across the continent. So we become a global magnet.
What’s the breakdown of international attendance this year?
I don’t have that in front of me. I do know that anecdotally they are very strong. There has been no drop off. If anything we have either maintained or seen a slight uptick in international attendance. This year we have an international concierge to help folks coming over from different countries to navigate the Convention Centre, and their needs around Los Angeles. We’re trying to make ourselves attractive to the global community.
What do you think E3 will look like in five to ten years time?
Four or five years ago you had a very small, quiet thing called E3, which once was in Santa Monica and then it was in LACC. It had a very different feel.
And if you asked everyone then where E3 would be in 2012, I don’t know they would have told you it would be this high-energy, colourful, exciting extravaganza with 45,000 people attending in the same space that had 3,000 people at that time.
One thing we do know is that we have an incredibly passionate and huge consumer base, so the industry itself is not going anywhere. We are going to see more folks playing games in more ways. What will be the way that we play in one year let alone five years? I am not sure I even know the answer to that. All I know is that it will change and our show will change with it. And E3 will still be here and stronger than ever.
THE GAMES OF E3
From FIFA to Far Cry and Tomb Raider to The Elder Scrolls Online, publishers will have a whole host of massive games on display at their E3 stands. MCV rounds up the already-announced titles...
Spec Ops: The Line
XCOM Enemy Unknown
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
The Amazing Spider-Man
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
Elder Scrolls Online
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dawnguard
DmC Devil May Cry
Street Fighter X?Tekken (Vita)
Lost Planet 3
Resident Evil 6
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2
Brave: The Video Game
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure
Where’s My Water?
Medal of Honor: Warfighter
Madden NFL 13
Legends of Pegasus
Port Royale 3
The Dark Eye Demonicon
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Metal Gear Solid HD (PS Vita)
Silent Hill: Book of Memories
Fable: The Journey
Dark Souls – Prepare to Die Edition
Dragon Ball Kinect
Ni No Kuni
One Piece: Pirate Warriors
Star Trek (presentation/interviews only)
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise
Luigi’s Mansion 2
New Super Mario Bros. 2
Pokémon Black and White 2
and a lot more for Wii U
God of War Ascension
PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale
The Unfinished Swan
Dead or Alive 5
Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor’s Edge
Various NIS games
Assassin’s Creed III
Far Cry 3
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes