As I’ve mentioned in the past I’ve covered the video game market for more than 15 years now. It is an interesting sector to cover because for a long time games – notably on the PC side – have been very innovative and a lot of the advancement in computers happened because of games.
Chat started in no small part because gamers needed to communicate in multiplayer settings, and this led in part to voice over IP. I’m simplifying things of course, but games today are like wars in the past. I’ve mentioned this recently with gamer tags.
But in recent years the business of games became too much work and too little play – even for long time reviewers such as this reporter. Things have turned around at least. I’m back in my home office from a quick trip to the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the “Mecca” for all things gaming.
In years past the show was a massive event with nearly 60,000 attendees. It made getting anything done very difficult. Last year the show downsized to a Media and Business Summit format, but took the show to Santa Monica. The beaches were lovely, the sun was out but the show was a dreadful mix. I’m happy to report that this year’s event was back at the Los Angeles Convention Center and it worked out very well. You can read my report over at the CE trade magazine TWICE, where I regularly report on all things gaming.
But I mention all this because other events have gotten too big as well. I find the Consumer Electronics Show to be so massive that I can’t see it all. CeBit I hear has also become unmanageable (but fortunately I’m able to skip that one). The old Comdex grew in size but then imploded, and likewise the New York based PC Expo was a show with a lot to see – and yet typically very little of note. The latter two examples were proof positive that bigger isn’t better.
This is especially important to note for small and medium sized businesses. At many larger trade shows you’re going to be small fish in a big ocean. The big companies will have big booths with big displays. So keep this in mind if you have trade shows on your schedule.
Many smaller game companies realized that they didn’t need to do E3. But instead many are going to the equally large CES. This might seem like an odd choice, but think about it. There isn’t a ton of gaming news at CES, and those reporters – such as me who need to cover whatever there is – will certainly cover the little guy at the show in Vegas. During E3 I wouldn’t even have time for a handshake!
Considering the price to exhibit, the cost of travel, meals for the staff and hotel expenses trade shows can eat up a big part of the budget. For the small business a press tour and one-on-one meetings with vendors can be a good alternative. And you won’t be swimming with the big fish either.