E3 still vital to industry, says ESA
Trade group exec says attendees overwhelmingly pleased with the show, confirms it will return to LACC through 2016
For Rich Taylor, there's been at least one constant throughout all the turmoil the gaming industry has faced in recent years. As the Entertainment Software Association senior vice president of communications and industry affairs explained to GamesIndustry International, that steadfast rock of certainty has been that people will question whether the Electronic Entertainment Expo is still relevant.
"It's interesting. I've been at ESA now for six years, and that question has come up pretty much every year," Taylor said. "I think the show answers the question itself both through the level of attendance and participation, from the news that comes out of it, and it remains extraordinarily... not just relevant, but vital to the industry, and vital to those who want to share news through the billions of impressions that come out of it. When we convene this show, all the attendant eyeballs and ears are pointed toward Los Angeles to see the news that comes out."
"I think people really are fairly thrilled about what we have now and the model we have now, the size we have now, the timing we have now"
Despite the questions from industry watchers, Taylor said the E3 feedback from attendees, exhibitors, and ESA member companies hasn't reflected those concerns.
"Right now, the overwhelming finding is where we are now is a really positive sweet spot," Taylor said. "Folks feel good about the room they have for their exhibit space, meeting room options, the number of attendees is still large enough to get all the principal folks that people hope to encounter during the show into the LACC, but also not so overwhelming that you can't actually play and experience the games themselves, which is of course a key part of the show... I think people really are fairly thrilled about what we have now and the model we have now, the size we have now, the timing we have now. That seems to be where the model will sit for the foreseeable future."
One part of the model that will stay the same is the show's home, as the ESA has recently committed to running E3 out of the Los Angeles Convention Center through 2016. While there were concerns last year that construction of an NFL football stadium next to the LACC could limit the building's available space for the show, Taylor said the plan for the stadium construction has encountered setbacks. Combined with assurances from the LACC and AEG to minimize any impact on E3, that means the possible new stadium is at this point "a bit of a non-issue" for E3, Taylor said.
While the general format of the show is set for the near future, Taylor said the ESA is still adapting to keep up with the changing industry, specifically the growing mobile market. In response to a cry for better coverage of that sector, Taylor said this year's E3 will feature an Online Mobile Gaming Pavilion where gaming for handheld devices will have its own dedicated space, "perhaps more conducive to the experience of playing those games."