NCsoft, Foundation 9 bypass E3 '08

[UPDATE 2] Following Activision/Vivendi's departure from the ESA, more studios say they will not be attending this year's E3 Media & Business Summit; id status unclear.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo has been in a serious state of flux in recent years. At the behest of many top publishers and hardware makers, the E3 Media & Business Summit organizer Entertainment Software Association said in July 2006 that it would be dramatically downsizing the annual trade show--reducing attendees from approximately 60,000 to a mere 5,000--and changing the venue from the spacious Los Angeles Convention Center to segmented locations in Santa Monica, California.

In December, the ESA said that the E3 Media & Business Summit would be returning to the LACC, but that this year's show would remain a scaled-down affair in line with the 2007 expo, which was invite-only. Though the ESA no longer plans to occupy the LACC in its entirety, the convention center will have at least one noticeable void on its show floor. Earlier today, Activision (and by proxy Vivendi) said it would not be attending this year's media event, and in fact would not be renewing its membership with the trade body at all.

With Activision and Vivendi pulling out of this year's show, it now appears as if at least some other studios are following the soon-to-be merged giants' lead. GameSpot has learned that NCsoft and Foundation 9--both of which participated in last year's show--will not be attending this year's event.

"No, we're not attending E3 this year," said a Foundation 9 representative. "We just didn't feel like we got enough out of the investment last year in order to justify the expense this year." Foundation 9 has 11 internal development studios, including Backbone Entertainment, Double Helix (nee Shiny and The Collective), Amaze Entertainment, Sumo Digital, and Digital Eclipse. Upcoming games from Foundation 9's various studios include Silent Hill: Homecoming, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, and Monster Lab.

[UPDATE] Following GameSpot's original report, a Foundation 9 representative clarified the developer's absence at the show. "Our decision not to exhibit at E3 this year, was in no way in response to Activision’s decision," said the rep. "We came to the decision on our own at the end of 2007. Some of our business development folks may actually go to the show as attendees, we're just not investing in the exhibit space. In addition, we just want to be clear that we have nothing against the show or the ESA in any way; exhibiting at E3 is just not something that fits with our marketing strategy this year."

A less surprising absence is NCsoft, which engaged in a heated confrontation with the ESA closing out E3 2006. After being fined $5,000 for a noise violation, NCsoft vice president of strategic development Fred Schmidt publicly called out the trade body, saying, "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." Contrary to Schmidt's posturing, NCsoft did make an appearance at the ESA's 2007 trade show.

As for NCsoft skipping E3 2008, a representative of the publisher told GameSpot, "The timing wasn't right for our products, so it really doesn't make sense for us to go." NCsoft has a handful of games in its stable, including the high-profile Guild Wars 2, which is expected to go into beta during the second half of this year, and Aion: Tower of Eternity, expected to launch in Korea in 2008.

[UPDATE] Finally, this afternoon an executive at the PR agency which has represented id Software in the past informed GameSpot that the developer will indeed be attending this year's show, despite the absence of its longtime publisher, Activision. However, reps had not commented on online reports claiming the Doom and Rage developer would be skipping the event.

[UPDATE 2] However, soon after this story's publication, the same agency retracted its previous statement, promising more details to follow.

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Discussion

77 comments
vortex_gw
vortex_gw

In Guild Wars 2 they should add tons of new stuff, otherwise the game will be bad. GW is boring now. I hope they have learned their lesson from the other MMOs.

doughboy93
doughboy93

Man that's uber weak sauce. Rest in peace E3.

kalli_bumbo
kalli_bumbo

GUILD WARS FTW(i didnt read the "news" lol)

rpgisforme
rpgisforme

A slow and extremely painful death to what was once an awesome thing to behold. RIP E3

decoy1978
decoy1978

It all boils down to $$$. Unless your one of the major companies and game developers, attending E3 is really costly and the return you get from it is quite minimal when you have to compete with loud noise and shelf space. Ironically, TGS doesn't have that problem.... in fact if the old E3 openned its doors to the public I'm sure these companies wouldn't be complaining. Overall, E3 has to change and going back to its roots will not bring back more people. You can't go home again once you left....

Cabal23
Cabal23

It all went bad when Paris Hilton thought she needed to show up. E3 is no place for Hollywood hijinx. Leave it to the devs, buyers, and writers. I's not a drinking party. It's a trade show.

McGregor
McGregor

I wonder if these larger developers are opting to host their own event and save the cost of doing multiple events, or simply have all the attention focused on their product alone, and not have to compete with other vendor's/dev's

nate1222
nate1222

I actually agree with the downsizing of E3. LET ME EXPLAIN! Back when E3 was a "Vegas lights show", smaller devs with cool ideas couldn't get much attention. The "big names" could practically buy attention via spectacle. So a dev with cool ideas wouldn't get to explain plot, story, visual style, play machanics, AI, etc... Thus, many slickly-produced and highly-predictable games hogged the spotlight. To thwart this, downsizing was neccessary. Now a dev gets time and attention to explain their product to journalists and reviewers. Smaller devs actually stand a snowballs chance for once. The mega-publishers hate it (and refuse to show up) because they can't buy the crowd out anymore. Well "wa-wa-wa". But, NOT LETTING THE PUBLIC IN IS MY MAJOR GRIPE!!!! We, the public, BUY these damn games! We should be allowed to see what's coming up.

victorgonzalez
victorgonzalez

I'm not completely sure, but I have a suspicion that everyday gamers have no idea how monumentally expensive it is to make an impactful showing at E3. We're talking about swimming pools of Abe Lincoln's here people, Olympic size swimming pools. Development cycles are no longer 1 or 2 year affairs for small development houses and E3's scheduling might not be optimized for their strategies. Even the big guys like Activision might see better returns on their investments by flexing their muscles on more focused and localized advertising campaigns. Ultimately WHO will benefit from some more developers having more money, time and flexibility in creating the games that they think we want? Mmm, I wonder...

winnazdaluza
winnazdaluza

WHO benefitted from killing E3 i would like to know???? it must have been the dumbest desicion EVERRRRR to downsize , now their loosing cash and people have lost interest. seriously somebody had to have had some intrest in seeing E3 fail but who??

Psycotico
Psycotico

It certainly will change the feel of the expo if we continue to see good entertainment creators like NC Soft and certainly Activision pull out of E3 but I don't think this will deter the ESA from their goal to make E3 itself into a better opportunity for all industry participants and not just Micro, Sony, and Nintendo. I certainly hope that this isn't a foreboding sign that the gaming industry is facing hard times with the down economy but seeing as how they're just about the only industry besides the movies these days that isn't slowly dying, I can't really see the justification that other studios would pull out of E3 also. So all hopes towards a future of greatness remain positive from my position. I hope from all yours as well.

Lifeshifter
Lifeshifter

No one cares about E3 since they changed it all around and its not an event anymore, plus this time of the year is the hardest for developers to produce working models of their games because their still in the early stages of development for they're christmas season releases. Im almost expecting most companies to bail out of this event in the next few years as it was slowly dissapear until its either scheduled around a better time later in the year or turned back into the E3 people used to love going to.

StSk8ter29
StSk8ter29

Well, history is cyclical. If you remember the old consumer electronics show game companies fell out of that trade show to create E3. I have a feeling that although the basis for leaving E3 isn't the same as why they left CES we still may see a new convention in the works.

DarkStreetDev
DarkStreetDev

I don't care much for E3 anymore after last year.

P90stein
P90stein

honestly.who cares whos attending and whos not. Im pretty sure no one here is attending.

amogley
amogley

By downsizing E3 they have shot themselves in the foot. I have a feeling that a lot of game companies will start migrating to the TGS or other similar expos.

Lucidmike78
Lucidmike78

I would love to see the big players (SONY, MS, NINTENDO, publishers/studios) team up together and put on a great expo for people in the biz, and the fans. Just charge admission. Make it like Comic-Con but for video games. Its a win/win situation. Great marketting, and a great treat for videogame fans for new games and systems on the horizon. And maybe it can be a chance for a smaller developer to get noticed. Let E3 what ESA wants it to be. A long boring (yawn) conference for developers and studios to share their ideas, secrets, and roadmaps with competing companies. Bring your notebooks. Leave your tradeshow booth and shwagg at home. Keep it invite only, and make sure your best employees take their resumes so bigger developers can snatch away your best people. Are you still wondering why people don't like the new E3? This is not rocket science.

other44
other44

[UPDATE 3] Again, however, whatforsomuch... we don't know what the h*ll they're gonna do!

XBASX
XBASX

As long the awesome press-conferences remain from the big 3 it's fine by me.

SrTVBR
SrTVBR

E3 will end if this continues.

SrTVBR
SrTVBR

E3 will end if this continues.

alsha3er78
alsha3er78

they took the gamers out of a gaming show, and this is exactly what the organizers should expect: not many will show up.

ottumatic
ottumatic

Look at it this way; those developers can organise their own trade fair / showcase event at a convenient location with their own list of invited attendees. And the rented space is more value-added as compared to E3's. E3 is already bound for demise since 2006. Everything is priced ridiculously even the catered food.

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

videogames cost more to make meaning less videogames are being released (ie less to 'show'). Videogaming is not doing too well (if you take out the Wii and DS) as IDG Group said in a report on Friday. AAA titles across all machines (although especially PC) are not selling as well, and more of the market is going to retro, independent and casual gaming. You could argue the success of both the Wii and DS are the opposite of the graphics first, mostly first person shooter, AAA titles! Even on PC, where there are a larger percentage of graphic whores, we have The Sims and Civilization as our biggest selling (single/multiplayer) games, by quite a long way, and again these titles are the opposite of the graphics intensive first person shooter that mostly defines AAA gaming today!

Maersyndel
Maersyndel

lol Just as well Gamespot aren't running a newspaper.

speedjunkie4
speedjunkie4

I am starting to think that devolopers are moving over to TGS than E3. R.I.P. E3

valcrist09
valcrist09

so how are we suposed to see the upcoming games? the hype between the 3 big shows? just articles on the web now? ugh boring...

Proman84
Proman84

That's too bad that E3 is just disappearing before our eyes. It was a fun, healthy (for the industry) event.

EPaul
EPaul

e3 is so lame now

flavort
flavort

well thats a boring article

Star650
Star650

E3 is not the same anymore, I'm starting to like TGS more.

darkfox101
darkfox101

oh well i knew E3 would suck once it was downsized..

HappyBB
HappyBB

To tell the truth, I really don't care who or who not attend this year's E3.

Va1eZ
Va1eZ

Guess we'll get no interesting news from E3 this year(

LindBergh2007
LindBergh2007

See? Isn't this exactly what I said would happen? That more publishers would pull out of E3? Guess I was right wasn't I? FYI, the death of E3 would result in major losses for publishers who usaully invest millions into the trade show.

Pete5506
Pete5506

After what they did to E3 I wouldnt go

kerrman
kerrman

I'd drop out too after what they did to E3. Who's ever idea that was should be shot. And fast, so that we can get a real E3 again. I remember looking forward to E3 like a kid at Christmas just to see what games I had to mark on calender

Kravyn81
Kravyn81

Ever since they decided to go private and restrict access to the public (most boneheaded idea ever) E3 has, in my estimation, died. Part of the allure and attraction was that they allowed gamers to attend. Gamers got to see the new products and software which, in turn, helped the ever popular word-of-mouth advertising. Now that it's all private nobody cares. There are no gamers there to carry out with them what they saw, or to get the buddies excited about what they saw. It's really pointless now.

belwyrm
belwyrm

I'm a heck of a lot more interested in the Tokyo Game Show this year.......

tyler2357
tyler2357

Stupid E3. Why pay for a booth if consumers can't come see it?

ksathra
ksathra

I used to like reading about E3 but ever since they scaled it down the event has pretty much died which was dumb decision to do this in the first place. Sure it may of cost more over the years but they could of made up that cost with allowing the public in on the last day of the event like how the TGS allows the public in on the last 2 days it has. Now with these companies pulling out E3 is now going to die a slow and painful death as over time more companies I bet won't show up at all. Like GIF said why even bother to promote something that only 1 or 2 people will get to view.

jogunther
jogunther

If any more companies drop out, the news out of E3 will be worthless. I guess we'll see.

Megawizard
Megawizard

E3 no longer serves a practical purpose with it being private.

GIF
GIF

The reason companies are bailing out is because its a closed event and investing time and money to promote a game is useless, idiotic and irrelevant when the consumer won't be able to see the product nor try it out. Mostly, the games get shown to other game companies which is kind of dumb.

SonicRaptor
SonicRaptor

Not really surprised, E3 has been getting really expensive over the last decade or so. With the Internet providing limitless amount of advertising and hype opportunities, you just play your cards at another table. I don't think E3 will die, it will either re-focus (again) into an even smaller event.