An E3 Overview
So just what's this show about, anyways?
Everywhere on the web the past week sites have been talking about "E3," a funny little shindig the gaming world throws once a year. And, in a couple of months, all the gaming magazines will hit the store shelves with their E3 wrapups and reviews. This crazy thing gets more hype than the new Star Wars movie. So, what's E3, and what's the big deal?
This article is just a quick peek at what this show is all about. If you'd like more detailed reporting, check out GameSpy's Awesome E3 Coverage, where Crispy is on the scene with tons of great previews of the different games displayed at the show.
"E3" stands for "Electronic Entertainment Expo," a conference sponsored by a company called the Interactive Digital Software Association. It's thrown every Summer, and while it's only been around for five years, it's already an industry institution. Inevitable. Like death and taxes. This year 55,000 people attended the show, to give you an idea of the scale -- and the show isn't open to the public, those are just computer game professional folk! E3 is a convention, where people can meet and talk shop, as well as a show, where people can show stuff off.
Who are they showing stuff to? The audience for E3 are mostly retailers and press. Everyone goes for different reasons, but the primary reason exhibitors show up and pay tons of money to have a booth there is to convince retailers that their product is da bomb, and that they should buy a bunch when it comes out. E3 often tells the world what to expect during the upcoming Christmas season. The biggest booths belong to software publishers and hardware/technology pushers; Nintendo, Sony, and Sega always dominate the show floor, followed by companies like 3Dfx, Microsoft, Logitech, Activision, Sierra, etc. Game developers usually don't have a booth of their own, but they are always a big part of their publisher's booth.
So, for instance, id Software doesn't have a booth at E3, but if you went to the Activision area there was a phat Quake 3 display, where id Software folk were hanging out and talking to the media about why Quake 3 is going to own. They also had a deathmatch ring set up; One of the coolest things about E3 is that there are playable demos of many games, often the first time a playable demo is ever shown to the public.
After E3, the press goes home to write about the cool stuff they saw. The retailers go home to pre-order all the cool stuff they saw. The developers go home to finish programming the cool stuff they were showing off. And the publishers go home to pray that the ten gabazillion dollars they spent on a lavish E3 booth pays off when the product comes out. Meanwhile, Fargo goes home, nurses a hangover, and tells you the straight dope of what the show was like.
Next up: the hype!