LOS ANGELES--Apparently, the Electronic Software Association (ESA), the organization that owns E3, means business when it comes to enforcing regulations intent on making the show floor a more user-friendly place to do business.
This afternoon, the organization fined Austin-based NCsoft, creator of Auto Assault and Tabula Rasa, $5,000 for violating certain expo regulations, according to an NCsoft rep.
The company is promoting its upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game Tabula Rasa via a stage show featuring musical sets played by Mutaytor. This is the second year in a row that the game company has used a musical act and stage show to promote its games.
"We've been doing our best to comply [with regulations]," the rep told GameSpot News. "We think there are a lot of booths louder than ours," he continued. However, the rep was not able to comment on whether the speakers in the NCsoft booth were, in fact, facing inward toward the booth--a new requirement of exhibitors this year.
[UPDATE]: As Mutaytor finished its set with fire-swallowing and dragon dancing, the audience was implored to get as loud as it could, and the booth shook with reverberations from the music.
Once the band wrapped up, NCsoft vice president of strategic development Fred Schmidt took the stage and addressed the fine. He blasted Sega (which inhabited a neighboring booth during the show), saying they had three people with decibel readers monitoring NCsoft's booth for the slightest infractions. Schmidt said the company made every effort to keep the noise within five decibels of the restricted limit, and for the most part did that successfully.
Schmidt then turned his attention to the ESA, essentially saying this whole experience has the company reconsidering its annual E3 presence.
"We're not sure we're on the same plane with this organization… We have been harassed for three days straight, and I'm not sure we're coming back here, but we are going to have a party next year--real near here--and we hope you all will come."
Schmidt then said he requested E3 show management's presence at the booth, held up a credit card and said if they wanted his money, they'd have to come and get it from him. When nobody came on stage to take his card, Schmidt said the ESA didn't want to discuss it in public "because it's much better to have it in private of course--beat 'em up behind the scenes. But I'm sure I'll get the bill somewhere."
Schmidt finished his speech by shouting, "Rock n' roll, people!" to the cheers of the crowd, and then informed them that a Guild Wars PvP tournament and award show would be the publisher's final events of the show.