E3 Getting Smaller and Smaller

E3I attended E3 in 2003 and have fond memories of it to this day. The displays were still huge, there were hundreds of gaming companies with booths and let’s not forget the booth babes! For journalists, the awesomeness doesn’t stop there. Most of the companies in attendance would throw huge parties with great food, live music and all sorts of craziness at various hot spots around Los Angeles. It was some serious fun.

However, that was 2003. After the 2006 show, E3 announced that they would be downsizing with not only fewer publishers on hand but also stricter attendance rules, meaning invitation only. While large companies will probably only see a small dent or no effect at all in their sales, the change seriously hurts smaller game companies with small advertising budgets that rely on the attending review sites and bloggers to generate hype for their product. The past has shown us that there are plenty of great games that don’t necessarily come from industry giants.

According to Ars Technica, this year’s list consists so far of 32 companies, a far cry from the hundreds that previously descended upon Figueroa Street. They include the big boys like Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Sega and Electronic Arts. I’m not sure if this is a good thing for the expo since this seems almost like what Comdex did right before that show died altogether.

I was thinking of flying down just for the hell of it but the newer, trimmer E3 just doesn’t seem like it’s as much fun. Sure, we could all do without the companies trying to sell us poorly made GameBoy accessories but 32 exhibits just doesn’t seem like enough to justify actually going. Of course, it might just be awesome but I’m just going to follow coverage online to find out.