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The 'NEW' E3

So everyone has heard about how E3 as we knew it in the past was gone. At first, I thought this was a great idea. E3 had become nothing more than a social event and an exercise in futility as we struggled to hear the 10 minutes of sound bytes we got when a new game was being demoed for us. For the rare, and lucky, appointment, we had a room set aside where it was only half as loud as the show floor, so we didn't have to scream at the top of our lungs standing only inches away from a person. Instead, we got to talk at a nominally loud voice sitting at a table next to the person talking. It was more an opportunity to get some face time, but with the sheer numbers of people shuffled through the demos, even that seemed unlikely to make any kind of impact.

So flash forward a year, and the ESA has announced they are hosting a new E3. On paper, it sounded like a great idea. There are only a limited number of invites available to a limited number of press and other industry professionals, for the limited number of companies showcasing. However, in working the last week on trying to get my star writer an invite, I've discovered one very big problem with this new show. It is too limited. None of the companies I have spoken to yet that I'd be interested in talking with about their games are showcasing. This means none of them have any invites allowed to send out to press. So, even though I have an invite to this, what has now become a super-secret, ultra-exclusive event, I'm questioning the value of even going, if none of the people I want to see are going to be there and I can't even get an invite for my best writer. I'm not even sure which company provided me with this invite, as I have no idea who is going. Not only that, but according the official site, invites are non-transferable and no additional invites will be sent out after they go out in April. This leaves me with a very short window of opportunity to find Jason an invite.

So what was once an event that was no longer useful to the media has potentially transformed into ... an event that may not be useful to the media. If none of the many companies we want to see are going to be there, and it's only going to be the big 3 (Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo), how much use does that really have to the media? The above-mentioned three have gamer days anyway, so if that's all that is going to be at the show, what is going to be there that we can't get anywhere else. One of the great things that did exist about E3 in its prior form was the fact that we could go to the convention center and check out games we would never otherwise get to see or, perhaps, even hear about. It sounds like, with the transformation of E3, there is no longer a convention that will do that for us. And that, my friends, is a shame.