A number of top publisher executives have spoken out at against the currently downsized version of E3, following the end of the 2008 event yesterday.
Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello, stated that “I hate E3 like this.” Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle
, he added, “Either we need to go back to the old E3, or we'll have to have our own private events."
"E3 this year is terrible," agreed Laurent Detoc, president of Ubisoft North America. “The world used to come to E3. Now it's like a pipe-fitters show in the basement.”
Simon Jeffrey, president of Sega of America, was more measured in his comments, admitting that the yearly event needed “more flash” to bring back retailers - but that he did not wish to return to the format of previous years, where publishers would spend $5 million or more on the expo.
Following the 2006 event, E3 was significantly downsized, with attendees falling from 60,000 to around 4,000. The 2008 is thought to have attracted around 5,000 attendees. The changes were made after a number of publishers complained at the spiraling costs of the event, and the difficultly in conducting business in the often raucous atmosphere.
Subsequently, some publishers chose to withdraw from the ESA (Entertainment Software Association) which organizes E3, including Activision Blizzard and LucasArts.
Ultimately Activision Blizzard chose to host their own separate press conference
during the week, while LucasArts did attend
– but chose not to announce any new titles.
Speaking to ESA president Mike Gallagher, the San Francisco Chronicle article suggests that next year’s expo could shift in size again. "We just need to decide where the dial needs to go," Gallagher is quoted as saying.