New E3 Won't "Steal The Thunder" Of PAX

New E3 Won't "Steal The Thunder" Of PAX


E3 is making noise about a return to its glory days of old, but the guys at Penny Arcade aren't worried about the impact that could have on the Penny Arcade Expo.

Since launching in 2004, attendance at PAX has ballooned from 3300 to over 58,000 in 2008, and plans to launch a second show on the east coast by 2010 were announced earlier this year. Unlike E3, which is an industry event, the Penny Arcade Expo is entirely for gamers, including PC, console and even tabletop fans. Ironically, its direct appeal to gamers, coupled with the extreme downsizing of E3, has led many game companies to consider it a more relevant and worthwhile show.

The ESA's decision to return to a "big noise" E3 is at least in part a response to the success of PAX, but Penny Arcade artist Mike "Gabe" Krahulik isn't worried about the impact it could have on their show. "I ... can't imagine it stealing any of our thunder. We have a ridiculous amount of thunder and honestly if they were to steal some of it we probably wouldn't even notice," he told Edge Online. "Just yesterday we accidentally left some of our thunder in our pants and then they went into the washing machine and the thunder got ruined. It wasn't a big deal to us, though, because we have plenty more thunder."

More seriously, he continued, "I don't see it having any effect on PAX, no. E3 has always been and looks like it will continue to be about the industry. PAX is about the community around games as much as it's about the games themselves."

Krahulik's position seems to be shared by ESA President Michael Gallagher, who said in earlier comments that while the show is expanding its criteria of who will be admitted, it will nonetheless remain an industry event. "E3 has never been a consumer show," he said. "We're not competing with PAX or Comic-Con."

Which may be one reason why Krahulik said the Penny Arcade crew doesn't expect to make E3 in 2009. "We've been to E3 and I feel like we know what it's about. I think it's worth seeing once," he said. "I mean, it really is a spectacle, but ask any gamer who has been and they'll tell you that E3 is a terrible place to play games."


Big noises:

E3: squeak. someone pay attention to us please

Big noises:

E3: squeak. someone pay attention to us please

A bolded "BOOM!" hardly seems comparatively fit. The BOOM in question is Hiroshima-grade. The squeak is an annoyed mouse.

PAX isn't just a glorified trade show for videogames, either. Its serving as the key West Coast pop-nerd culture event. Everyone is simply confused about E3 now. Is it for press? Is it on limited access? Is anyone going to both premiering new titles there?

PAX is the gamer's game show.

E3 is... ESA trying to figure out how to make back the money they lost from losing Activision and LucasArts.

I have to agree with the general consensus. No one really cares as much about E3. I mean, how many companies use E3 now to announce new games besides the Big Three?

I went to e3 for 2004 and 2005(right before they went smalltime) and penny-arcade is right. You do not go to e3 to play games. You go to e3 because you want to see companies ANNOUNCE their games to the public. It was really strange if you do not actually belong to the press or are a stockholder because although you had the same access on the floor you did not have anyone you could really look forward to seeing because everyone is so busy making sure the tradeshow runs as smooth as possible.

I do think it is good companies are realizing that E3 being big and open to all game companies and associates of game companies because it is a place where everyone can connect on a professional level and discuss their direction, and more importantly question. When e3 became a private affair there was little hype unless you REALLY kept in the loop and was really the BIG show before game news websites announced news and releases as soon as it was available. Another plus is that people in the industry can conduct business with other companies and see the reaction of the fans to see what is working and what is not and ask them for feedback.

If I had to hope what the new e3 would become is a tradeshow open to fans who are willing to pay admission(offset any revenue losses, not too steep like the $400 tickets for just the floor from before. I'm sure 150 for all three days would be a fair price for just the floor.) and open to the industry to really show what they are working on for the future and really taking pride in their work to make a name for themselves. With new downloadable content games through wiiware, XBLA, and PSN small time developers could really use e3 as a boost to show that they are not one hit wonders but a developing company to take the reigns from the previous generation of developers and go big.

It is true that if you are do have hobby for video gaming to go and visit e3 at LEAST once because each person gets at least one good story from going.

My story is that during the 2004 e3 while visiting Sega I got to see what games they were developing. Games like House of the Dead: Eye Toy, Altered Beast(never got released in the U.S.), and Virtua fighter action RPG story where you play a boy who mimics their moves in a modern world(sorry I forgot the title). The really interesting part was that I wanted to see the House of the Dead: Eye Toy game before I left. I really wanted to get a clear view but the crowd was a lot taller than I. So I started to squeeze myself through these gentlemen in suits without a second thought. I got a better look as people got to try the demo and when I turned around to the gentlemen I pushed I noticed on their vest with a badge stating: SEGA OF JAPAN CEO and SEGA OF JAPAN PRESIDENT. I looked up and the two gentlemen smiled at me and I was shocked that I ran out of there ASAP because I just pushed them out of my way so I could see one of their games. I was 19 at the time so I of course only cared about the games and not the people who controlled the industry.

So here is hoping e3 moves foward and not backwards. Learn from their mistakes and realize the importance of a tradeshow. Inform, show, and share to ensure a great year for gaming on both a business and entertainment front. Also bring back booth babes and games that will challenge those visiting because seeing these developers get beaten at their own games and willing to have fun really connected the games industry to each other and their fans.


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