WASHINGTON -- Organizers are getting ready to host the biggest-ever edition of E3, the trade show for video games and other interactive software products.
Moving from Los Angeles, where the first two editions of the show were held, E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) will take place June 19 to 21 in Atlanta. The size of the show will increase to 530,000 square feet from 480,000 square feet last year, said Doug Lowenstein, president of the Interactive Digital Software Association here, the industry group which conducts the show.
"E3 is the most important and largest show in the world dedicated to showcasing interactive entertainment software, as well as related products like edutainment and educational software," said Lowenstein. "It is the only place in the world where you can see in one place at one time all the products that will be competing for consumer dollars in the coming year in the interactive software business."
Lowenstein would not discuss advance registration numbers, but last year, attendance grew 40% to 57,795 from 40,851 in 1995. One reason for optimism this year is the ability to draw more people from the East Coast population base, he noted. "We are pleased with where we are registration-wise," he said.
The number of exhibitors will increase from 373 last year to well over 400, he said. When Lowenstein spoke with SN earlier this month, 422 companies had committed to exhibiting.
The major video game manufacturers -- Sony, Nintendo and Sega -- supporters of the show from its beginning, will have expanded booths at this year's E3.
"Intel will be there with the most significant exhibit to my knowledge that has ever been mounted of games running on the MMX chip," said Lowenstein. In addition, Intel president and chief executive officer, Andrew Grove, will be one of the two keynote speakers at the show.
Grove will talk on the evolution of the consumer personal computer and its role in the delivery of interactive entertainment. NBC News anchor, Tom Brokaw, will be the other keynoter, speaking on the new media's increasing effect on the global distribution of information.
More than 30 other educational sessions are planned, organized into six tracks, including one specifically for retailers. Among the topics in the retail track: "Playing the Game to Win," "Getting Into the Game Big Time: How to Launch an Entertainment Product," "Inside the Buyer's Head: How Consumers Spend Their Money and Why," "Putting on Your Best Game Face: How to Merchandise More Effectively" and "The Future of Retail: How Retailers Adapt to Changing Markets."
Other sessions of interest to supermarket executives charged with entertainment software responsibilities are: "Technology on the Edge," "The Future of the Console," "The Future of the PC," "Educational Software: Can You Make Money?" and "Games for Women."