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NCSoft boss backs new format for E3

Amid widespread disarray among publishers over the ESA's decision to replace E3 with a much smaller media event, massively multiplayer game publisher NCSoft has emerged strongly in support of the new format.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, NCSoft Europe boss Geoff Heath welcomed the move, saying that "it will probably make for a better show."

According to Heath, the decision to ditch the LA Convention Centre and to drastically reduce the size of the event will help to get what he described as "the spiraling costs of attending" back under control for publishers.

"It will put the focus back on doing business and having meaningful meetings," he commented.

NCSoft has in recent years been one of the larger exhibitors at the show, and in 2006 occupied a large area next to Microsoft's stand, hosting live performances from a range of bands and unusual stage performers throughout the three days of the show.

Heath told GamesIndustry.biz that much of the reasoning for the end of the huge expo is down to publishers being tired of the one-upmanship in which they must engage to get attention at E3.

"It's also down to exhibitors that wanted to go one better than they did the year before or have a bigger booth than the next guy," he explained. "Looking around this year it seemed to be getting to the stage where companies must have been spending a good chunk of their yearly marketing budget just on attending E3."

"When you look at the numbers in terms of money spent to attend and the amount of coverage or feedback you get out of it, I am sure a few people are thinking the money could be put to better use elsewhere."

As to the future of the event, while Heath is supportive of the new E3 Media Festival, he also believes that the end of the expo will lead to an increased focus on other events - including existing events outside the United States.

"Publishers and hardware manufacturers will probably look to more local events to support or invest the money in running their own product specific launch events," he said.

"Leipzig is certainly getting a lot more attention from outside of Germany but the big differentiating factor is that Leipzig is a very hands on consumer show, whereas E3 was trying hard to keep regular consumers out. They are totally different shows."

"But it is likely that Tokyo and Leipzig will get more attention if E3 does totally disappear," Heath concluded.

Rob Fahey avatar

Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.