Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter has described E3 as “virtually useless for retail and for investors”, ahead of the start of the 2008 expo next week.
Quoted in an article for financial website TheStreet.com, he further commented
that “the conference used to offer retail, media and investors an early look at games and an opportunity to speak with company managements.”
With the downsizing of the event and many publishers pursuing their own expos at different times of the year Pachter complains that increasingly few new game announcements will be made at E3.
E3 2007 was the first to severely limit the number of attendees, while also moving away from the large scale stands and high profile marketing exploits that had been the hallmark of previous years. The changes were brought about by publishers’ unwillingness to indulge the spiraling costs of the event, but the 2007 expo in Santa Monica was criticized by some for being poorly organized and lacking in the usual high profile announcements.
The 2008 event will return to the Los Angeles Convention Hall, but taking up a fraction of the previous floor space and with purposefully uniform stand sizes. These changes have in part been made to encourage the event as a more useful business event, but most of those interviewed in TheStreet.com article are critical of its continuing usefulness.
“E3 had much more of an impact when it was a show," comments IGN.com vice president of games content Tal Blevins. "The video game industry is about fun and entertainment, and we should have a show that reflects it.”
Signal Hill Capital analyst Todd Greenwald is less dismissive though, commenting: “It's the only event of its kind where companies have the opportunity to show what they have coming in the second half of the year. The other shows, E For All, in October is too late, and the Game Developers Conference in February is too early."