E3 Conference to Scale Back for 2007

UPDATED The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), promoter of the gaming industry's top trade show E3, announced a significant downsizing of the popular convention on Monday. Among the changes will be far stricter admission policies, and a change of venue.

The show has grown to 60,000 attendees and is one of the largest annual tech conventions. However, the cost for companies to attend and promote their wares at E3 have apparently become too high for some, and several high-profile companies have been rumored to be pulling out of the show.

While the show has taken place at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the new E3 will provide meeting space only, and companies would demo their products to a select group of 5,000 attendees. The event, likely to be renamed to the "E3 Media Festival" is expected to leave the Los Angeles Convention Center for two hotels with suites and conference rooms.

This system is designed to benefit the media, as a stricter policy would be implemented for who is permitted to attend the show.

A loss of E3 would not only affect the gaming industry, but Los Angeles as well. The show brings in tens of millions of dollars in tourist revenue through hotel rooms and attendance at the city's biggest attractions. Smaller companies that depend on E3 to promote themselves could also be shut out if the ESA decides to limit what companies are allowed to attend in the future.

"This isn't, 'Gee we don't want to spend the money.' It's we want to spend the money efficiently," Doug Lowenstein, president of the ESA, told the Wall Street Journal. "The return is not what it used to be at E3."

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