Tom Ohle of Evolve PR has written in his personal blog about the legitimate issues faced by smaller companies in this post -"real" -E3 landscape. Without delving into "inside baseball" territory, the old E3 was a general free for all, for better and for worse, but it did get a lot of attention. Reports about Min-E3's shrinkage have a certain level of spin to them, it's not that exhibitors don't want to go -- the new Min-E3 is designed more or less to keep them out. The same scenario that happened to the invite-only journalists is being played out with the exhibitors.
Ohle writes, "The event will still allow the industry's biggest publishers to showcase their wares, while effectively cutting the legs out from the rest of the industry ... think of every small company that spent a massive portion of their marketing and PR budget on a booth in Kentia, just so they could get to the one event that allowed them to show their products to a ton of media and retail buyers."
Despite the small size of this Min-E3, companies still want to be there because they know everyone attending this time around is an actual vetted journalist or someone that can give them media attention. Ohle points out that GDC is of increased importance, but that's a development-focused gathering, and people were already complaining this year about the media attention it received. PAX and E for All "both do a good job of appealing to the fanboys" because they're consumer focused, but those aren't for press. Leipzig and Tokyo are great, but even major US media outlets can't converge on those locations due to cost. The key thing to remember about these 4,000 journalists invited to Min-E3 is that the number sounds like a lot of coverage, but those aren't just Americans, that's global -- and they aren't all gaming sites. A portion of media outlets going are MSM, which means they may produce a paltry four or five pieces during their time (and in all probability focusing entirely on Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo).
As Ohle speaks to in his post, PR agencies didn't have a clue what was going on with min-E3 until very recently -- and there's still a lot of questions. From the major agencies we've spoken to here at Joystiq, who cover a majority of third party publishers, they are getting their materials together now for min-E3. A general feeling of confusion is pervasive among PR agencies. E3 was where PR agencies showed their clients why they spend thousands of dollars on them annually, the last thing the agencies want is to go into min-E3 half-blind and have no decent press coverage to show their clients after. That's how agencies lose clients and die.
There is a chance that Gamecock will produce a Kentia Hall type of space close to the sprawling Min-E3, which encompasses a airplane hanger and numerous hotels spread across miles. The ESA is still keeping their cards close to the chest and by all accounts the press, PR and, in some cases, publishers have no idea what's going on for this min-E3.