If you were Larry Probst, CEO of Electronic Arts, the news about E3's shift to a more "intimate" format might well have been delivered to your palatial estate by a very proper English butler carrying a silver tray bearing a personal note from Doug Lowenstein.
But then again, Probst didn't need to be told. In fact, it's a good bet that he dictated the change to Lowenstein. From news reports, it's pretty clear that EA wanted E3 dead - the glitzy, panoramic E3 we had come to know and love, anyway.
What, then, of the small exhibitors, those lonely occupants of Kentia Hall (seen at left), the Los Angeles Convention Center's basement equivalent of a Siberian gulag? Here's what E3's small-time exhibitors were told by the ESA:
"Dear Valued E3Expo Exhibitor,
As you may have read in the enclosed Press Release, the 2007 E3Expo has been officially cancelled. As the industry has evolved and matured over the past 12 years, the needs of the exhibitors and key attendees have also changed. To address this change, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has announced a new event tentatively scheduled for July 2007.
Details of the event have not been finalized at this time, however our vision and goal is to create a more intimate climate for personalized meetings and product demonstrations. The ESA will announce additional details and information in the ensuing weeks and months.
We would like to take this opportunity to extend our sincere and profound gratitude for your past support of this event. It has been exciting and rewarding to see the growth and significance of this industry mirrored on the exhibit floor of the E3Expo through the years. We look forward to many more years of industry growth, vitality and opportunity.
GamePolitics received a copy of the ESA letter from a Kentia Hall exhibitor. Such firms stand to lose the most in the E3 reshuffle. As Jospeh Olin, President of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences told GameSpot recently, "Thinking about "winners and losers," the smaller, specialty companies who introduce their products at E3 in Kentia Hall... will find it more difficult to reach 'buyers' or to create buzz about their products or services."
E3 thus ends, in the words of T.S. Eliot, "...not with a bang, but a whimper."