3 Reasons the E3 Video Game Conference Suddenly Matters Again

Last Updated Jun 9, 2010 3:22 PM EDT

The once-revolutionary Electronic Entertainment Expo has been as dated as an Atari 2600 in recent years, but next week's E3 could be a phenomenal show for the stagnant video game industry:
  1. Apple. Apple (APPL) is pulling in serious bank on the video game side, which is taking away from other companies' profits -- something even previously bulletproof Nintendo admitted. However, the real influence is Apple's smart integration of platforms. Microsoft (MSFT) showed off the XBox 360/XBox mobile XBox Live online environment as early as E3 2006, but it then got pushed to the backburner -- until Apple showed a similar iPod/iPhone/iPad gaming environment in January 2010. Suddenly Windows Mobile 7 has slick XBox Live integration, a move Microsoft said it could do literally years ago. Coincidence? No. Apple is preventing the big three -- Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony (SNE) -- from getting too comfortable.
  2. Actual innovation. Since the Nintendo Wii in 2006, the only tech innovations coming to the consumer has been a gratuitous number of guitars, drums, turntables, skateboards and other oversized joysticks. High-margin music and gadget-based games have jumped the shark and now there are real new products hitting the market, specifically the Wii-inspired Sony Move and the controller-free Microsoft Project Natal, both playable at next week's show -- and available to the consumers by year's end.
  3. Location, location, location. E3's problem of late has actually been the opposite of the maligned Consumer Electronics Show -- it actually got too small. Having 60,000-plus Los Angeles Conference Center attendees in 2006, the Electronic Software Association tried to "class it up" by turning it into an invite-only expo for only about 3,000 attendees set in a strip of Santa Monica hotels. This didn't work. The organizers quickly realized it was a bad call, shifting it back to the LACC and slowly building attendance back up. Video games are fun and farce, and, like Comic-Con, the biggest video game conference in America should reflect the decadent industry it represents.
E3 2010 may finally mark the resurgence of the expo and, the industry hopes, the resurgence of video game sales.

Photo courtesy of videogamevisionary.com Related: