The Entertainment Software Association trade body has confirmed that the 2008 E3 Media & Business Summit will take place from July 15 – 17, 2008, at the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) as a smaller trade-only event.
According to an official statement from the ESA: "The event will continue to focus on the business of the computer and video game industry, with an emphasis on press events and small meetings with media, development, and other key sectors."
It's also reinforced: "While there will be opportunities for game demonstrations, the 2008 E3 Media & Business Summit will not feature the large trade show environment of previous years."
Though the event is apparently intended to be on the modest scale of this year's Santa Monica-based E3, but in the more central LACC location, the ESA did not pinpoint a particular desired attendance number for 2008's E3 Summit, simply saying it will be "...open to ESA members and non-members alike."
However, the trade association did note: "Companies involved in console, PC, online, and mobile game publishing and developing, as well as makers of video game hardware and peripherals will be eligible to participate. Attendance at all events, meetings, and demonstrations will be by invitation only."
“The US is the world’s number one video game market and the E3 Media & Business Summit is its premier video game conference. The 2008 Summit will provide a professional and efficient environment for suite-based meetings with media, and other industry leaders,” said Michael D. Gallagher, CEO of the ESA, which represents US computer and video game publishers and owns the E3 Media & Business Summit.
He continued: “We look forward to welcoming the media and top industry executives to a centralized, business focused and personalized experience. Our program of high-level meetings, networking and personal dialogue, and industry-shaping panel discussions will capture the explosive growth we have seen in 2007 and lay the foundation for the 2008 video game marketplace.”
[UPDATE: In a statement further detailing the event, the ESA says it will "absolutely not" go back to the style of the 'old' E3. "The decision to remain with the successful suite-based model was made by the ESA’s Board of Directors," it read. "The Summit is first and foremost about getting business done."
"When we asked key audiences what they wanted in the new event," it continued, "we heard that they wanted opportunities for high-level meetings in a business-like setting, to play games, network, and socialize, to see major company offerings while also preserving the sense of discovery that is so much a part of E3, and to hear substantive presentations on the most important issues and trends facing the industry. We believe the event we have shaped will fulfill all those needs."
It added that it expects between 3000-4000 people from the media, retail, development and financial communities," with invitations "determined by participating companies and not by the ESA. Those companies will provide lists to the ESA as to who to invite."
As for the move to Los Angeles, the ESA said it "heard attendees’ concerns last year that they wanted a more centralized location, but they also liked the suite-based personalized nature of the event."
"Los Angeles offers us exactly the type of facilities we needed—convenient location for many of the presenting companies," said the ESA, "ample meeting space for exhibitors, multiple hotels within walking distance to not only the main meeting center, but also to each other, as well as in environment that understands and appreciates the entertainment industry."
Finally, the ESA nixed any ideas regarding making any part of the show open to the public as with Tokyo Game Show or E For All, adding, "The intent of this show is to be a business-to-business opportunity and it isn’t centered or focused on general consumers."]
[UPDATE 2: GDC head Jamil Moledina said the announcement of the new Summit provides a commercial counterpart to CMP's own conference. "It's encouraging to see E3, like TGS and Leipzig, continue to support the game industry through its showcase of games for each year's holiday buying season," he said.
Moledina continued, "Their efforts provide a complementary, commercial balance with the GDC, enabling us to focus purely on delivering the central forum for the creation and production side of the industry."]