ESA exec 'confident' in E3 stability

Senior VP Rich Taylor talks to GameSpot about balancing spectacle and business with the trade show's latest winning formula.

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It has been a turbulent handful of years for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, with the show changing dates, sizes, and locations in search of a format that will please attendees and organizers alike. However, this year's show just might do the trick.

The once and future home of E3.
The once and future home of E3.

In a recent interview, the Entertainment Software Association senior vice president of communication and industry affairs told GameSpot that after this year's event, the E3 format may finally regain some much-needed stability.

"I'm an optimist and I think what we have now is the right hybrid of what E3--for 2009 certainly--needs and should be," Taylor said. "I have great confidence that everyone who attended will say, 'That was the show we've been waiting for, and now we've got what we want and we need.'"

After the May 2006 E3 drew more than 60,000 attendees to the Los Angeles Convention Center, the organizing Entertainment Software Association determined it was no longer the best way to get business done. For 2007, the trade group packed up and headed for nearby Santa Monica to hold a stripped-down E3 in July, with an invite-only guest list of roughly 5,000.

With that show drawing a mixed reaction from attendees, the ESA moved E3 back to the LACC for 2008 but kept the month the same and the attendance number tightly capped. This year, E3 will remain in the LACC, but the ESA is opening the doors to roughly 40,000 attendees and is moving the show to take place the first week of June.

Taylor said the group is trying to hit a sweet spot where the show still retains the eye-catching "pop and sizzle" of older, spectacle-driven E3s but doesn't become so bloated as to compromise a publisher's ability to get business done.

"On sight, people may say 'it looks like the old E3,' but I think there are small improvements here and there that are going to lead to a greater experience for all the key attendees," Taylor said.

According to the executive, early indicators, such as attendee registration and the number of participating exhibitors, are all "really positive."

E3 2009 is set to take place June 2-4 at the LACC. For more from the interview with Taylor, including an update on the Video Game Voters Network and its stance on security circumvention tools for use in homebrew game development, check out this week's episode of GameSpot's The HotSpot.

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