From July 31st to August 3rd both of those things could be had at the 10th annual Electronic Gaming Summit which is sponsored by the California wine maker Ziff Davis. You can find more about what was going to happen at this year's event by going to their website which is located here http://gamegroup.ziffdavis.com/summit/Home. The event is, like E3 was, strictly an invite only event where industry members can get together and discuss the future of the industry as a whole while set amongst the beautiful, and no doubt heady, environment of California.
There were a number of influential representatives of the gaming industry present. Among them were George Harrison, the head of the marketing department for Nintendo, Jack Tretton, the second CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, and finally Peter Moore, who served as the representative from Microsoft. Also present were representatives from Electronic Arts, Amazon, and ESPN.
Moore, Harrison, and Dill all provided individual lectures about the gaming industry. There was also a panel discussion among a group of industry presidents like Luarent Detoc from UbiSoft, Simon Jeffery from Sega, and finally David Zucker from Midway. They all spoke about running a game industry in the year 2000. Finally, there was a panel composed of journalists from ABC,. CNN, and the New York Times whose primary topic was how mainstream journalism viewed the video game industry.
For you curious readers out there, here is a brief summation of who talked about what; you may pin your ears back, put those selfsame ears to the ground, or just sit quietly. Peter Dille, the Vice President in charge of Marketing from SCEA, made a speech entitled “Gaming:A Brief History”. During the speech, he talked about the way that SCEA has shaped gaming as it is today and how it will play a hand in the future of the market and the technology behind it. Alan Tuscan, the Vice President and Studio General Manager from EA Montreal, discussed about the time, effort, and money it takes to produce these new and very flashy games we collectively drool over. Also discussed by Tuscan was what goes into the making of these masterpieces. The Presidental Panel, in it's turn, talked about what a gaming industry has to do to be competitive in the 21st century. George Harrison, from Nintendo, then followed up with a speech about how the gaming industry was influenced by a wide range of other industries-automobiles, soft drinks, and even World Cup Soccer. Of course, we all knew this. You drive to pick up the soda before picking up the game, which could easily involve soccer, and then driving home again to play it. See how easy that was?
Greg Hart from Amazon.com discussed the retail habits of gamers and how both people who play games and those who do not can become supporters in the industry. Rich Wickham, who was standing up for Microsoft Games for Windows, talked about how Windows still had an important part in the gaming community. He also commented on how that role would change over the next five years. Scott McDaniel, who is the VP of Sales for Ziff Media Group, talked all about us..the gaming community. Who we are, what we do, and why we do it. The final day of the summit closed off with the journalism panel being tossed the same questions the company presidents' were given earlier in the day.
The collapse of E3 was also a topic of discussion at the event. Some said it was too large and was unable to actually get anything worth while done, and others said that E3 was a vital part of the gaming community; that it helped attract more widespread attention for video games and the people who made, sold, and played them. E3, by the way, is not totally dead and gone; it'll still be there next year. It'll just be smaller and no one will be trying to fight their way through the door. It's practically a ghost of it's former self.
Hopefully, though, events like the Electronic Gaming Summit will take the place of E3. It's potential will allow both game makers and their players to gather and share information with each other. The most important feature would be to play games for a few days and talk about what hard work it is. Games, like wine, are all about experiencing the finer things in life.
Well, that's what I tell myself anyway.