SPOnG had been hearing rumbling that a major consumer event aimed at replacing the consumer interest and attendance ripped out of next-year's E3 may well emerge in the coming months, with Consumer Electronics Show (CES) organiser, The Consumer Electronics Association, (CEA) planning to sweep up the discarded footfall in 2007.
As we were working on this news, the CEA issued a press release confirming gossip that had filtered down to us from the higher levels of the games industry. As you may be aware, E3 in its most recent state was formed in response to negative feedback from publishers at the treatment they received at the hands of CES organisers, who ten years ago saw the games industry as an ugly wart on it's show of black and shiny boxes.
The CEA "...is forming an advisory committee to solicit gaming industry feedback and explore the viability of a West Coast event in late spring 2007 focused on the gaming and entertainment marketplace," said the association in a press release issued a few hours ago.
“Since ESA decided to eliminate the E3 event in its known format, we have been deluged with inquiries on whether we could fill the tradeshow needs of smaller video entertainment companies,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA. “Our executive board met yesterday and unanimously asked staff to explore ways that we can help the gaming community. The Consumer Electronics Association believes that tradeshows are the most viable means for reaching a market as they serve smaller companies and entrepreneurs who need access to media, buyers and investors. Our board, association and events are committed to growing the industry – in fact nearly 80 percent of our members are companies with annual sales of under $10 million.”
"We enjoy creating new marketing opportunities for this category," said Karen Chupka, senior vice president of events and conferences at CEA. "With the growth in on-line PC gaming and the rush to HD gaming, we see an opportunity to create a fresh event aimed at this market. We already have commitments from three companies in this area to provide us advice on a new event in late spring 2007. A major goal of this advisory committee is to generate gaming community feedback on how best to meet the needs of the industry. As long as there is desire and commitment, we are ready to service this community and will begin looking at venues in Las Vegas and Los Angeles and for appropriate partners. Should the committee recommend we move forward, we would design an event which is consistent with CES quality.”
Of course, late spring would offer the ability to trump the late summer offerings of the new-look E3, a revised show which to date has not been explained in any meaningful way.
Expect full updates on all of this as they break...