To: The Game Industry
From: Gen Katz, Editor
Topic: E3-expo
Date: Jun 2009

"I'm shrinking, I'm shrinking", said the witch in the Wizard of Oz. There were signs of the E3-09 Expo coming to same conclusions. E3 as we knew in it in the old days is changing to be a leaner event and was certainly effected by the recession and with the drop in May sales.

The first sinking feeling came over me when, after I picked up my badge, I went to get my Official Exhibit Guide. You know, like the ones sitting on your shelf - glossy, perfect bound, 150 pages, more or less. I get handed the Show Daily and no accompanying bag with E3-09 on it. Whoa - now there's a message.

Some things remained the same. The big four - Sony, Nintendo, Activision and THQ put on a impressive show with big booths, big noise and lots of releases promised for the fourth quarter. It was crowded - people lined up around the Nintendo booth for first-tries and short men lined up for photo ops with tall women. Yes, booth babes came back. Every one seemed happy that E3 was back at the LA Convention Center. Boy! Has that area changed - new great restaurants and more hotels - but none as fun as the Figueroa.

This year there was no third hall - Kentia, which was a showplace for smaller and international countries. A good place to stroll about and find new and quirky games. Petree hall, a smaller hall generally reserved for one or two companies, was now reserved for the media and media lounge.

Changes were perceptible in the smaller things. In the Media Center - gone were the bins for literature that used to line two walls. Now assets are either distributed on disk or on a business card with a url or ftp site. Nintendo's card was biodegradable and plant-able - a too clever way to destroy information. Lockers used to be at a premium. There were plenty available, maybe because information had become so small, you could put a whole day's worth in your back pocket. Maybe that's why there were almost no carrying bags about. Atlus was only one of the few and their Trauma Center bags got eyes all over the Expo.

Media announcements and addresses were less attended than simply observed from large monitors. I'll bet these guys miss the applause. There were more tiny meeting rooms in the West Hall, that allowed deal making and information gathering where a conversation was possible. For the first time, I knew more than some of the people demo-ing the games. If you were lucky you got the game designer to walk you through and basked in his enthusiasm and knowledge. And last but not least - I had always counted on getting enough pens to last until the next Expo - I got one.