Late on Thursday Ziff Davis announced that it was canceling plans to hold its New York City based consumer electronic trade show DigitalLife for 2008, only a few weeks before the show was scheduled to occur on September 24-28. The company cited "poor economic conditions" as the reason for the cancellation. Now Big Download has learned that yet another major consumer show, the video/PC game oriented E For All Expo, is having trouble convincing most game publishers to attend its second annual event. It's currently scheduled to be held on October 3-5 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
E For All Expo held its first event last October, also at the LA Convention Center. Its organizers, the IDG World Expo, had previously stated in interviews they were hoping for between 20,000 and 30,000 attendees but in the end the first show only had 18,000 people show up, according to a IDG World Expo press release. Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Konami, THQ and 2K Games were the only major game publishers that exhibited at last year's inaugural event. Intel also attended as an exhibitor.
Big Download has also learned via their respective PR reps that a large number of other major gaming publishers also have no current plans to attend. That list includes Sony, Midway, Atari, Sega, Warner Bros. Interactive, NCsoft, LucasArts, Sony Online, Square Enix, Codemasters, Gamecock, Southpeak, Disney Interactive and Capcom. When contacted, PR reps for Nintendo, 2K Games and Activision did not yet know whether or not their respective companies would be attending E for All this year. PR reps for Ubisoft and Namco Bandai have not yet responded to our inquires. Intel indicated they might appear as part of the Dell touring truck exhibition (this truck appeared at QuakeCon and was mostly a promo for Dell and Alienware PCs)
It seems clear that even if E For All adds a few more major publishers to its lineup between now and October 3, most of the gaming industry have decided to ignore the event for the second year in a row. By contrast, the 2008 edition of Penny Arcade Expo, to be held this weekend in Seattle, will have over 20 game publishers and a sizable number of independent game developers attending according to their own exhibit hall floor plan, including all three console hardware companies. Last year PAX had over 37,000 attendees, over twice what E For All had in 2007. Even with the current slowdown in the country's economic condition, PAX 2008 is expected to bring in at least 45,000 attendees. (The Penny Arcade web site has also been making fun of E For All in the past few weeks)
One possible reason for the lack of game publishers for E For All 2008 is the fact that two bigger and more established public gaming events will be held the next weekend. The Tokyo Game Show is being held from October 9-12 and many Japanese based publishers might feel attending that long running and popular event is more important than attending E For All. Also, Blizzard will hold Blizzcon just a few miles away from the LA Convention Center in Anaheim, California on October 11-12 which pretty much eliminates any Blizzard participation at E For All.
Big Download has attempted to contact the PR representative for IDG World Expo to see if they had any comments on the apparent lack of interest by most of the game industry for E For All 2008. We did reach their PR rep by phone on Friday morning who told us they would try to contact IDG World Expo execs for comment. At the time of the posting of this story we have yet to receive that reponse.