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New money

There were a few big trends at E3 this year – 3D, motion control, pulling people's arms off and beating the enemy with them – and if you were a publisher, spending lots and lots of money.

The major publishers have to hold their own press conferences outside of the E3 show just to get heard. The big three held their respective shows, with Microsoft opting for two events, one dedicated to shouting that its camera-based controller is definitely aimed at children and families.

Electronic Arts and Ubisoft weren't to be outdone either, both putting on their own events, although John Riccitiello's claim that he sees the company as the gaming equivalent of the Sundance Festival compared to E3's Oscars was ridiculous when you're showing off the latest in a long line of annual franchises.

Activision didn't have a showing on the E3 floor, instead it opted to splash out on one of the most lavish events I've attended – a gig at the Staples Center featuring Usher, Eminem, Rihanna, Chris Cornell and more, with lasers, fireworks and massive Call of Duty branding. Bobby Kotick may as well have opened his wallet and thrown dollar bills into the crowd. The message was clear – Activision is stinking rich.

Inside E3 there was the usual noise and spectacle, with THQ's massive booth standing out as particularly lavish, complete with military dress-up and a giant mech for attendees to pose in. Booth babes were everywhere, every inch of the show floor monetised to the max.

It was only four years ago publishers complained to the ESA that E3 was costing them too much and was so busy it felt like they were shouting into a void about their products. But you wouldn't know the downsizing of 2007/2008 ever happened if you were there last week.

The games industry has been shouting about how big it is compared to other entertainment markets for years now, and last week's E3 was no exception. It's a show geared towards only one aspect of the business – the triple-A blockbuster – and it seems there's only one way to do E3. By spending obscene amounts of money. I wonder how any company that isn't top tier with piles in the bank gets even the slightest amount of benefit from attending and spending on the biggest games show of the year.

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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