2004 E3: Get Ready to Game

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The 2004 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the world’s largest annual video game convention, flooded the L.A. Convention, Center once again with a spectacular array of colors, sound and the latest innovative technology. With more than 65,000 professionals in attendance and over 400 video game publishers, developers and retailers exhibiting on the 540,000-square-foot show floor, the trade show’s 10th anniversary became more than just an enormous gathering of boys and their play toys.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, 50 percent of all Americans play video games, including Internet, computer and console games. The average age of gamers is 29 — with 39 percent of gamers being women — and 92 percent of game purchases are made by adults.

By the end of 2003, video game sales brought in $10 billion to the United States alone. And much of this revenue is reflected annually at E3, where new games are introduced, trends are set and innovation and new technology reach a global audience.

In years past, convergence and integration have been overlying themes at E3. Since the early ’90s, video games based on movies have been created and recreated. But not until the past few years has convergence been legitimized with the movie and music industries joining with the gaming industry. Now, companies invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce a single video game in conjunction with big Hollywood titles (such as this year’s upcoming releases like The Lord of the Rings, James Bond 007, The Punisher and The Matrix Online). This new breadth of interactive media surpasses the unidirectional intake of entertainment in decades past, calling for new hardware to make this transformation possible.

Sony and Nintendo, two of the three biggest players in the video game industry, announced their forthcoming innovative and integrated gaming hand held devices. Sony’s PSP (PlayStation Portable) and Nintendo’s DS are the next evolution in gaming, entertainment and communication.

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