Monday, July 09, 2007

E3 This Week

It's a little later (by about 2 months) and a lot more toned down (only certain companies are participating), but it is E3 time once again. This is one of those times I miss being an integral part of a gaming site. Back in the heyday of Console Gold I was always hoping to make it to E3, but work or monetary situation always held me back. I would have loved to have made one of them, but oh well. I spent E3 2003-2004 doing backbone work on the site. Ah, those were the days we used to manually edit pages before Eldon created the database that they currently use (my memory fails me, the database may have been in use at E3 2004). I think E3 2005 was the first time we were able to add things E3 related (such as screenshots and previews) to the database, but to be honest I forget as they all seem to meld together. I remember writing all the previews for the major games before the guys went to E3 and also to help them have something to build upon when they wrote their hands-on previews.

I just checked out Gaming Trend's E3 2007 page and it seems they are going to use the same type of design as they used last year. The key problem of course is that any normal user of the site would be unable to find all the work the team did for the previous E3s. The pages are in the ether or at an address no normal person would know. I know the team is working on creating a redesign (that has been promised for at least 2 years now) and I hope they really think about some of the archived stuff and making the page more user friendly than it is. Before I left there were some good plans being worked out, but that was almost 2 years ago now. I know Eldon has the talent to do such a thing and I can only guess at what is happening behind the scenes, but I get the sense the same internal problems that were there when I left are still there. Enough about that, I was just remembering fond and not so fond memories.

Now we are at E3 2007, although it is now named E3 Media and Business Summit and is relocated to Santa Monica (in an airplane hanger and hotels) instead of at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This year will be an excellent test of whether E3, in any form, is going to live on or not. There are only 39 companies at the Summit and they represent the bigger players out there (Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, EA, Activision, id Software, Take Two, etc.). The smaller players and some of the other big players decided not to attend.

It sounds like at Barker Hangar there will only be 10'x10' and 20'x20' booths for the companies. Those are pretty small, which makes the other part of the Summit all the more interesting. All the private meetings are being done at hotels around Santa Monica where the companies can obviously set up even bigger areas to show off their stuff. Also Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will be having their yearly press conferences where things are usually announced. Outside of that all of us not at E3 will be waiting on gaming magazines and mainstream press to give us all the info because chances are none of the major games will be shown at Barker Hanger given those small dimensions of space.

The other weird thing is I don't know how many hotels are holding the private stuff. I feel sorry for the journalists out there that will be darting back and forth to different hotels to get to their meetings. At places like Evil Avatar, they have a lone person going who has 20 meetings, 6 press conferences and 5 parties currently to attend. I hope bapenguin can keep his sanity and I hope he gets to see a lot of good stuff. Gamespot is once again going to have their live show, but this time it sounds like it will be outside on the Santa Monica Pier and it sounds like they will be interviewing companies that aren't attending the event as well as the ones who are. I've always liked Gamespot's live shows, although now with Kasavin gone as the guiding light I wonder if it will be as well done as before.

I'll try to give my thoughts on E3 as the news comes out and if you find me posting anywhere on a forum it would probably be at Evil Avatar since I don't know anywhere else to post. I always enjoyed giving minute-by-minute info on CG of the press conferences, but it might be hard to do so on EA.

I just found out via Major Nelson's blog that Microsoft will be having its press conference outside at Santa Monica High School's auditorium. You can see a pic of the location on his site. Microsoft is ballsy to have something outside and hopefully the weather will cooperate with them. Microsoft is again the first one out of the gate with their press conference and they will have it on Xbox Live later on in the night. I personally will be watching it at Gamespot at 10:30pm my time tomorrow and give my impressions later tomorrow night hopefully.

If I was to guess I would say that E3 may live on given the players behind it, but I can also see more developer and publisher trips being given to journalists to get the word out. I think this is just the first step to a vastly different way of the major news going out.

This also opens up things for conventions like PAX and CES to be the go-to spots for the public to see stuff, especially the former. PAX is only going to grow as the years go by and they may need to move it to an even bigger venue outside of Washington state. We'll see though.