Industry hails the "rebirth of E3"
Publishers welcome a return to business and the chance to show the world what the games industry can achieve at annual showcase
The publishing community is celebrating the rebirth of E3 after the annual event returned last week to showcase the talent, product and success of the games business in what is likely to be another record year for the industry.
Microsoft, Sony, Take-Two and Sega have all told GamesIndustry.biz that the Los Angeles event is the ideal opportunity to celebrate the achievements and vibrancy of games in the wider entertainment and media market.
"It's great to see it back," offered Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Xbox business. "We're an entertainment business and we should act and talk like an entertainment business.
"We shouldn't go hide in a corner. I've been doing E3 for some time and I'm really excited to see all the excitement and energy and noise and all the people come back, because that's what we should represent. I feel very fortunate that we got to launch Project Natal this year, because in essence this is the rebirth of E3 and Natal is the perfect way to kick that off."
Following the ESA's decision to scale back the event in 2007 and 2008, the industry lost an opportunity to promote itself and reach new audiences, according to Andrew House, Sony's new president and CEO for Europe.
"I feel very strongly about it, I was one step removed from the industry at the time the decision was taken but it wasn't a decision I supported," he said.
"I think you get a singular opportunity to have the press and everybody else focus on our industry for a week in LA – one of the entertainment capitals of the world. That's pretty priceless. As soon as you took emphasis away from that we lost an opportunity to reach the media and by extension broaden our appeal as an industry as a whole, so I'm very glad it's back. It's absolutely worth the collective investment we put into it."
Ben Feder, CEO of Take-Two, said the show floor felt alive and attendees were openly enthusiastic about the future of the business despite tough economic times. "We couldn't be happier, the energy in this room is unbelievable," he offered.
"The business is growing, the industry is growing. Every passing year there is more and more interest in the interactive entertainment business and I don't see this disappearing in the economic environment. I just see it growing from year to year," he added.
Gary Dunn, development director for Sega Europe, noted that his company has been able to talk business, and there was a perfect balance between showing product to the press and retail partners.
"I think they've hit the sweet spot this year, to be honest. The previous couple of years were very low key, but before that it was huge and probably over subscribed. I've been able to walk around the show floor this year – all you could do previously was shuffle around and it was very frustrating.
"We certainly feel that we've got to see all the key people we wanted to see from retailers and press. We're doing business so we feel it's been a success."
And while some developers fear the pressure of showing game demos at events like E3 might take the focus away from completing the final product, Tony Hawk's developer Robomodo welcomed the motivation of creating and showing early code to the press and partners.
"I saw a picture of E3 last year and it just looked so sad. This industry is so big that to not have one big gathering of a combination of developers, publishers, press, retailers and buyers was a real shame," said Josh Tsui, director of Robomodo.
"It's so great to have it back. On the development side of things it kicks us in the ass to get more stuff done by a certain date. We got a lot done in the last few weeks. I always joke, but there should be four of these gatherings a year, because if they did that, games would always be on time and on budget."