GC '07: Is GC the new E3?

Supersized European trade show gets record 185,000 attendees, exhibitors, and journos, but people are unsure whether it will fill the gap left by the old extravaganza.

LEIPZIG, Germany--As the Games Convention in Leipzig finally draws to a close today, there's one question that everybody wants to ask--or at least that we want to ask--could it be the new E3?

The first incarnation of the Electronic Entertainment Expo was the video game trade show to end all video game trade shows, until last year when it was announced by organisers the Entertainment Software Association that it would be downsized and renamed the E3 Media and Business Summit. Attendance would be by invitation only, with the invitees being nominated by people within the games companies. Although the big three presentations by Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft were as spectacular as ever, attendance was slashed to 5,000 from some 60,000 the year before, and the Barker Hanger show floor was pleasingly queue-free, but also lacking in the pizazz, excitement, and size of that of previous events.

Since then, many shows have been touted as "being the new E3," and people are wondering which, if any, are going to step up to fill its oversized boots. The Tokyo Game Show has been named as one possible successor, as has the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, and with this year's record attendance numbers in Leipzig, could this outside contender be The One?

This year, 185,000 people came through the gates during the five-day show (183,000 in 2006), which was spread out over five halls, including a "business centre" only open to industry staff and journalists. There were 503 exhibitors (last year saw 374), and 12,300 trade visitors (from 8,700 last year), and 3,300 journalists from 46 countries (last year 2,610 from 38 countries). The percentage of non-Germans participating rose to 43 percent, a massive leap from last year, where only 24 percent were nonnative.

The Games Convention Developer Conference, which takes place just before the Games Convention proper opens its doors to the general public, also saw record numbers. Over 900 people attended this year, compared to 650 last year, and came from more than 35 different countries, with 60 percent from outside of Germany. This year's speakers for the event included Double Fine's Tim Schafer, Factor 5's Julian Eggebrecht, Epic Games' Mark Rein, and Silicon Knights' Denis Dyack.

There were mixed reactions from games industry personnel after the event. One US PR employee told GameSpot it was her first time at Leipzig, and that she had been unaware of the scale of the show. She said, "I was totally amazed at how big the show was. It really seemed like a combination of E3 and GDC." However, she didn't think that it would be replacing the US-based event, although other contenders might step up to the plate. She's putting her bets on PAX, Penny Arcade's Expo currently taking place in Seattle. She said, "It has more than doubled this year and it seems that almost every publisher is participating. It seems like PAX, more than any other show in the US, has really seen the most growth since the cancellation of E3. It definitely could overshadow the 'new E3,' which got very mixed reviews."

A Canadian game company CEO told GameSpot that he had been impressed by the massive show floor, but felt that with approximately 50 percent of attendees being German, the event wasn't truly international enough to rival E3. He said, "The floor show was certainly full on, which is reminiscent of E3, from a marketing spend and exposure standpoint. The business services were good as well, and I appreciated the business/trade-only day on the Wednesday. But it just wasn't international." He added that in order for the event to truly be a rival of the old-style E3, it would need to attract more international contenders, particularly from America and Japan.

A British PR manager said he was also impressed with how the event had expanded since the last one he went to the year before last. However, he too stopped short of saying that the event could be the new E3, since the area lacked the infrastructure to deal with the onslaught of attendees. He said, "The amount of announcements made this year by hardware manufacturers show how important they think it is, that's for sure. Although I personally don't know if it will rival E3...but the city itself doesn't seem to be able to accommodate these events. Some games company people that I know were forced into staying 30 miles away from the venue, and others were camping out if you can believe that."

However, he added that he thought the venue itself was world-class, with everything being clearly signposted in English, great catering, and the staff polite and helpful.

A Canadian games developer told GameSpot that he wasn't going to sit on the fence--no way did he think that GC could be the next E3. But that was nothing personal, he simply believes that the huge trade show event idea has had its day. He told GameSpot, "I think GC is a great place, but I don't think it will be the next E3 because I think the value in those shows is really going away. I think as a development environment it has been excellent and I really like the conference hall."

It was his first time here, he added, as it was for many international attendees, showing that the Games Convention had a higher profile this year overseas. But I think the whole idea of showing a lot of games in one open forum, there's too many games right now and people aren't getting enough attention, and I think a lot of the publishers and developers are having their own private showings where they can get all the attention. Quite frankly, it's easier on the press as well, because it's not so compressed, and you don't have to do a preview off of two minutes of gameplay. So I think that closed shows are going to be the way that it goes."

One thing certainly impressed a veteran American games journalist. He said, "The booths were certainly reminiscent of the old E3--I even saw two booth babes wearing nothing but G-strings and body paint which was rapidly melting off in the heat. No uptight orders to cover up here, they're Europeans for heaven's sake! Rock on!"

Next year's Games Convention Developer Conference will be held in Leipzig from August 18-20, 2008. The Games Convention typically runs directly after the GCDC, meaning that next year's is more than likely going to take place August 20-24, 2008.

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84 comments
patriot6
patriot6

I was in GC this year, it was obviously awesome... but it doensn't have yet this super mistic hallo that E3 once had. You know, the name E3 is enough to drive anyone crazy...

popping4it
popping4it

E3 is good now, before there were people there that had no business being there. seriously just gtfo. stupid usless people such as web bloggers used to freely get a press pass. So many worthless celebrities would come too. They made it as campy and trashy like the spike videogame awards. The videogame companies arent here to baby sit dumb lil kids, and answer stupid questions. Lets not bring down this industry by making it a complete joke. This type of thing is what makes people say "videogames are just for kids".

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

I wish i could go to ANY game fairs!

choasfreak
choasfreak

What can you say E3 killed itself with its new restrictions. Like it has been said already Leipzig is the E3 of the past in all of its glory. E3 might not last if they keep pulling the garbage they have been pulling. I wonder what would happen to it if next year the big gaming companies and a few develops did not show up to the next years.

Xbox_Gamer_117
Xbox_Gamer_117

E3 sucks now hope there will be several big game shows to fill the gap... Like others have said before, ZOMG what a hot chick!! :P

TZG
TZG

Leipzig is more like the new ECTS. But who really cares? The important thing is that there is an event like this for the European market. Leipzig is for Europe, what the TGS is for Japan and the E3 for the U.S. .

playstation_wii
playstation_wii

Leipzig iis not the new e3. If it is, GameSpot better do live coverage there.

Space-Q
Space-Q

"That caption with the blonde babes and 1-liter beer steins tells me one thing: IT WILL BE EVEN BETTER THAN E3!!" Agreed! they should mix it with oktoberfest. how awesome would that be? every getting drunk, billigerent and aggressive with each other cause they don't want to wait to play demos. haha oh man by the way that blond is friggin cute

sigma8
sigma8

That caption with the blonde babes and 1-liter beer steins tells me one thing: IT WILL BE EVEN BETTER THAN E3!!

trip187
trip187

east coast has VGXPO and Magfest. VGXPO is in the beginning of November in Philly. Magfest is in January in Virginia. The east coast actually has some worthy events...if you know where to look.

wenbin09
wenbin09

it's better than the newly revamped E3

living_wmd_888
living_wmd_888

The Tokyo Game Show is far, far superior to Leipzig. Or E3 (even the old E3) for that matter. Leipzig is pallid compared to TGS or the old E3.

ppau08223
ppau08223

G-strings FTW!! but serously i think that e3 was something that they should have stuck to. yes it was crowded but i think it was the pinnacle of expos. there was always something exciting about it the way competitors tried to out do themselves with all the hoardings around the city and the huge presentations , it was exctitng , just the way things related to gaming should be. it is really sad that they had to cancell it but im sure that either gc or tgc will take its place.

carddude
carddude

all I know is that its for anyone unlike e3. So probably, yes it is better

Sigil-otaku
Sigil-otaku

TGS is probably best, Not much really happened at Leipzig in my opinion and I believe more will be in TGS considering 2 out of 3 consoles are japanese made and a large majority of games companies are also japanese.

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

TGS in terms of numbers is by far the largest!

HK-47-M4
HK-47-M4

The Tokyo Game Show is my bet. It's alot bigger than any other event.

MadGamer132
MadGamer132

hey, e3 will always be e3 but different, however the title "the next e3" is up for grabs now.

EcoJak
EcoJak

Hmm.....could be

Enterprise-E
Enterprise-E

I think the Tokyo Gaming Show will be the next E3. It was getting bigger and bigger every year and with this years E3 being more personal TGS is the last best hope. In many ways TGS is much better because things that aren't aloud here are aloud there. Check out last years TGS show and you will see what i am talking about.

Krigon
Krigon

I wish England would make a GC.

bazzatuk
bazzatuk

After this years E3, its obvious that the industry needs a big extravagant show. The gamers like it, the reporters like it, the attendees like it.... E3 is dead and buried in its current format. Long live GC!! There has been far more interesting press coverage than what we saw from this years E3.

LOGGER13
LOGGER13

As long as they have girls and beer like the picture in the news listings, I'm there. I wouldn't even care if the highlight game is ET for the Atari.

Frexie
Frexie

Leipzig > E3 simply because the sexy-ass booth babes are still around;)

KorJax
KorJax

I dont care. As long as I still get some quality game news and announcments, I don't really care. I never planned on attending these uncomforable, expensive, shows anyways, its always easier to just get the same information about the game on a website like Gamespot.

123625
123625

if E3 is getting more worse than it already it is why not?

LeviHarris
LeviHarris

Let's hope not...I live in LA and this was the first year I haven't gone to E3 and it sucks. I can't travel to Germany every year!

kinglink2
kinglink2

NO! dear god stop asking this. E3 is STILL E3. E3 is an INDUSTRY show. GC is a show open to the public. See the difference. The fact we had 500 thousand fanboys at E3, the booth babes, the long lines, the random stupidity wasn't a bonus, it was the PROBLEM! so E3 even though it's invite only is still... E3! Got it? Can we stop acting like every convention is E3?

CAMeye
CAMeye

Yeah GC, got lot's of potential. But the biggest problem with these game shows is the fact that they all take place in 4 months time. And than 8 months nothing.....

TheDarkKnightX
TheDarkKnightX

didnt we ditch europe long ago why go back now? nothing there that we didnt put there btw your welcome guys

MSE369
MSE369

noo i think the tokyo game show will probably be the 1 to fill in e3's shoes only problem is its in japan n stuff maybe thats why GC wil become the next e3

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

lol e3 isn't even close to being international as it. e3 always had a 95% majority of the population being from the US. 57 % leaves much more room.

Hungry_bunny
Hungry_bunny

I SO hope it will be, Germany is a lot closer to Sweden than Japan or The States.

dannyodwyer
dannyodwyer staff

I hope so, im gonig next year! :P

Yuck_Too
Yuck_Too

This years E3 was better then it's been in a long time. We actually got information in more games and in depth interviews then the past couple years combined. Sorry if all you kids didn't get to go stand in line for grab bags while staring at booth babes but really, not having that aspect of it there was just what the serious people wanted.

Edit: and there go the thumbs down. Fact of the matter is we got more information about more games then ever before, and that should have been great news for everyone...and you all call yourselves gamers. It's about the games not about who can throw the most money around. Only thing dead about E3 is the restriction on children admittance.

Lilac_Benjie
Lilac_Benjie

[quote="RDO"]there will be a show to replace e3, but it will have to be in america, the worlds largest market.[/quote] I couldn't disagree more. Europe is the one place that really needs something like (the new) E3. There is the most opportunity for industry growth in EU. I am glad that GC 07 overshadowed E3 this year. Perhaps we will see market growth in Europe as a result.

xgalacticax
xgalacticax

booth babes with g-strings?!!!! mmmmmmmm. get E3 back to normal.

onlineps2player
onlineps2player

this year's GC was bigger than before, it's good for games to have 3 big industry events!!! I love these shows and trailers coming out from them....

Lord_Artix
Lord_Artix

Bah, we need the old E3 back. Although I'm excited for the Tokyo Game Show, that could be the successor to E3...

Slash_out
Slash_out

Ok, where are the pictures of the two booth babe in G string, and body paint melting? XD

PSdual_wielder
PSdual_wielder

The thing with Leipzig not being international enough would be a problem that will automatically go away in a few years if they keep the show like this, people will quickly hear of this show and start pouring in all over the world in due time. The question is, does the operators of E3 feel like going back to the kind of convention that it was before?

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

I'm just curious to see what they have planned for next years E3 show. Almost everyone was critical of it this year, so hopefully they will sort it out next year.

kappareign
kappareign

theres a big show in germany, and one in tokyo... so as long as theres press coverage i will be happy. but it'd still like an E3 in the USA

rdo
rdo

nurenberg would be a good site. the have alot of space that they use for octoberfest. frankfurt would be good to. i'm not sure how much berlin has changed, the last time i was there there was still a wall running thru the city. but even then west berlin was a party city.

nicolasgb
nicolasgb

GC was great this year and GCDC is getting there, but they have to find a solution to better accommodate everyone. I heard they're thinking of moving it to a bigger German city