As the gaming industry continued to grow, so did E3, and each year it got bigger and busier, with attendee numbers swelling from 40,000 to 70,000 in the space of a decade. Anyone that ever experienced the show will appreciate the sentiment that it was always a strange paradox of emotions. Being at the hub of all things gaming = exhilarating good times. Battling a sweating mosh pit = chronic fatigue.
But it wasn't just the stress of mass confinement that brought on an epidemic of moaning amongst show goers. It was too hot. It was too loud. Food and drink were too expensive. There was too much walking required. Queues to play games were too long. There were too many inflatable swords and freebie hoarders that had no “right” to be there. And on and on and on. More significantly, as E3 reached its eleventh year, people were beginning to question the relevance of the bright lights and booming music of the show's “floorgasm” as more and more of the juicy stuff seemed to be happening behind closed doors anyway.
However, as much as the congregated masses liked to whine, the E3 experience was a top buzz: for three days in May, the LA Convention Center was Mecca and making the annual pilgrimage was the highlight of the gaming calendar.
Despite the familiar, incessant moans criticizing E3's structure, it still came as a surprise when Next Generation reported that E3 organizer ESA (Entertainment Software Association) was canning the shindig. The site revealed that some of the event's biggest exhibitors had withdrawn support, deciding that the enormous costs simply weren't worth it. And, sure enough, an ESA press release quickly followed confirming the story. However, rather than the plug being pulled on E3 completely, it explained that it would evolve into a “more intimate event focused on targeted, personalized meetings and activities” in order to better serve the needs of the industry.