Games design legend Will Wright has added to E3 organiser the ESA's woes by claiming "the real E3 died a couple of years ago", branding this year's heavily criticised Los Angeles event "the walking dead".
Wright, who delivered an on-stage presentation of his latest project, Spore, at the trade-only expo during Electronic Arts' press conference, believes that the once-mighty industry showcase is now "struggling for an identity".
"It almost feels like a zombie at this point; it's the walking dead," he told GamesIndustry.biz, in an exclusive interview conducted recently at the headquarters of Maxis in San Francisco. "It's such an abrupt end to what was E3, which had been this huge escalating arms race."
He added: "I understand why they really pulled the plug on the big E3. Looking at the amount of money a company like EA would spend on it, it was ridiculous amounts of money just to be present and competitive with everyone else, so I think they were looking for a way to sign the arms treaty and de-escalate the whole thing."
Despite returning to the LA Convention Center after a year's experiment in Santa Monica, E3 2008's dramatically pared-down structure and lack of buzz drew fierce criticism from across the games industry, with question marks now hanging over the future of the show.
"Right now we're in this kind of dicey, do we have an event, what event is it, which one do we go to?" Wright explained. "I think we're in an uncomfortable transition zone when really the real E3 died a couple of years ago."
Spore releases in Europe on September 5.