LOS ANGELES--The Entertainment Software Association set out to make this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo reflect the energy and excitement surrounding one of the fastest growing entertainment industries in the world. The energy and excitement are difficult to quantify, but the show had "fastest growing" down pat.
As the final day of E3 2009 kicked off, the ESA announced that the show played host to more than 41,000 attendees. Last year's invite-only show brought only 5,000 people to the same venue, while the last large-format show, E3 2006, had over 60,000. ESA president Michael Gallagher described this year's show as successful for the group's members and exhibitors "in terms of sales, business development, and profile-building."
The ESA wasn't the only party pleased with the show. Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello, one of the most vocal critics after last year's event, had nothing but good things to say about this year's expo.
"The ESA has put on a great show for the game industry," Riccitiello said. "E3 2009 reflected the vitality, innovation, and global presence of a rapidly growing industry. I'm already looking forward to next year's event."
Take-Two Interactive president Ben Feder was also effusive in his praise. "I think this is much more reflective of what the video game business is," he told GameSpot. "It's not just a showcase. I think it projects the right characteristics of the industry: growth and excitement."
Feder also felt E3 2009 was more effective in terms of deal-making than the smaller-scale insider events of 2007 and 2008 and the massive confabs that preceded it. "I think there's more business being done this year than any time in the last five years," he declared. "Retailers are here--over 100 retailers, last I heard. And when you talk to publishers about getting business done, relationships with retailers is a big deal."
As for E3 2010, the ESA announced that it would return again to the Los Angeles Convention Center. The event will take place slightly later on the calendar, running June 15-17 of next year.