Preview: E3 Expo 2010
The ESA's Rich Taylor looks ahead to the world's most influential games event next week
Next week is one of the biggest highlights on the games industry's calendar - the E3 Expo. After a couple of quiet years, last year saw something of a return to the excitement that surrounded the last big edition in 2006.
To find out how plans are coming along, and what the main priorities for this year's event are, we spoke to Rich Taylor, senior VP at the ESA, who explained just what to expect at the LA Convention Center for 2010.
To be honest we felt it went as well as - if not better then - we had hoped for, and the feedback echoed that. It was a year when the show increased in size and recaptured a lot of the energy and personality of the computer and videogames industry, after being a smaller show for previous editions.
What was interesting is that it increased to about 40,000 attendees last year at the same time that, here in the US and globally, shows of this type were actually shrinking significantly because of the economic situation that was going on... and in many ways, continues to go on.
So it was heartening and reaffirming, both to the importance of the E3 Expo and to the strength and vitality of the industry that we were able to grow it in the opposite direction.
It was the way that the show came off, more importantly than the number of attendees, and the experience almost across the board. The news that came out of it, the fact that a hell of a lot of release information from the publishers was held until the week of E3 - there were exciting innovations and new games shown, and the analysts and media had access to see new products.
All in all I think it was extremely positive - us at the ESA being happy is one thing, but exhibitors and attendees also echoed that happiness, so that was really what proved the point.
I think the level of participation is a great indicator of that - it's certainly the industry's biggest forum, and showcases all the innovation and excitement. All the major hardware platforms will be there, the top 20 lead publishers will be exhibiting - and many more beyond that cut-off range.
It's the long-established, and in many ways re-established, launchpad for industry-defining hardware and software announcements.
For this year, if anything there will be a modest, slight increase in attendee numbers, probably in the region of 45,000 compared to 40,000 last year. We're not tearing the doors off of the Convention Center and waving traffic through the door.
Right now the important thing is that the show provides value for the exhibitors, and to the high value attendees from the media and analyst community. That's the primary purpose of the E3 Expo.
Every year as the show finishes we go back and talk to all of the key constituencies that participated in the event, and we get feedback. That's what helps to design and drive future editions - so it's impossible to forecast beyond this next event, because we'll go through and find out what levels folk want dialled up or down.
Were the hallways wide enough? Were the bathrooms clean enough? We get feedback on everything, and that will help shame the 2011 editions. But this year's event, size-wise, will feel not dissimilar to 2009.