“From the other side, many con vets are just wondering when the Hollywood contingent of San Diego Comic-Con is going to do an “E3? and try to scale back. Our own concept of one possible course is that in a few years, Hollywood is going to wake up and wonder why they are spending so much money on giving fans tchatchkes and try to scale down to a press-only event, just like E3 tried to do.” – Heidi MacDonald
In case you’re not familiar, E3 is the electronic entertainment expo, and it’s been going on for 20+ years now, and it eventually grew to insane, mythological proportions. And then scaled back to a bland trade show that no one liked. And has in recent years started to ‘recapture’ a little of the old spend-like-money-is-going out-of-style glitz.
And, from everything I’ve heard from everyone who’s attended, Comic-Con already is the scaled-down, no one likes it that much version of E3. Seriously. It’s small-potatoes compared to the elevendy billion dollar a year video game business, in a convention centre it outgrew 4, maybe 5 years ago. In a city that fucking hates it. For the most part.
Go read this, it’s Jim Zubkavich’s (UDON) stunned reaction to his first visit to E3 a few years ago, which I believe is the last of the “big” E3 events. Jim is a guy who had been to San Diego, as well as tons of other big cons across North America, and E3 still blew him away:
“After hearing about how good the Sony party was each year at E3, I was eager to see it first hand. As it turned out, luck worked its magic and my boss had arranged a meeting for me with a Sony executive after a mutual friend recommended our studio for an upcoming video game based project. … The meeting went well. Feeling good about our interaction, I stuck my neck out a bit and mentioned the party. She had one invite left she could give me. She made me promise not to sell the invite or to try and bring extra people along. I agreed and she handed me a wristband. At that moment I wondered what the heck I’d gotten myself into.
That night, my media buddies who had invites of their own and I made our way to Dodgers Stadium. When we arrived, security checked our wristbands and gave us each a glass of champagne while they lead us to shuttle buses. We rode up the hill to a beautiful open field area decked out with giant colored circus-like tents. Our wristbands were checked again as we entered and they double-checked that we’d brought no recording devices or cameras. Once inside the grounds I got a real sense of the scope of this thing.
6 or 7 giant tents surrounding a large music area and stage made up the party grounds…
- Jim Zubkavich
The Sony Party rented Dogers Stadium and filled it with tents. And acrobats and performers. And grunge rockers too… go read the posts. It’s insane.
Even on it’s best day, the con parties at San Diego don’t compare to this.
And sure, that’s “just” the parties, that doesn’t say anything about the hall or guests or attractions or whatever. But really, what I’m trying to point out here is MONEY. How much do you think it costs to throw that party in a rented Dogers Stadium? 500 grand? A million? 2? Do… do you think people care? Do you think Sony cares? No, it’s 2 million dolars, Sony made a lot of fucking money last year. And as elaborate as the booths at Comic-Con get, not a one of them is even close to the cost of what companies spent on booths at E3. Those video game booths are almost a million bucks a pop at Comic-Con, and BIGGER at E3. What if the DC booth was 4 times the size it currently is, would it seem so fucking crowded all the time? What if Marvel actually put together a real booth one year? What if Sony spent the same on their Comic-Con booth as they spent on their E3 booth? HOLY SHIT.
I got news for you, for a major media conglomerate having a bunch of model/actors standing around handing out tchochkes for 5 days IS the chump-change. These people go to lunch and it costs $900. If no one drinks.
300,000 people show up over 3 days for COMIKET at Tokyo Big Sight, a fan-run and fan-oriented convention on an island floating in the middle of Tokyo bay. ONLY 150,000 people show up, over 5 days for Comic-Con, the biggest consumer pop-culture event in a country with over twice the population.
The reason San Diego is a crowded, sweaty, overpopulated mess is because they’re thinking small. In my ever-humble opinion, they really oughtta realize that they stopped being a Comic-Con a long, long time ago, and move to accommodate the show that they’ve become. Because I can’t imagine ANYONE is happy with how things are going now? Fuck, where’s the grandeur, the innovation, the VISION? Make it happen people!
So yeah, book that bullshit baseball stadium next door for the weekend for the nerds, figure out a way to put up tents and carpetting in their giant parking lot. There’s a park behind the Convention Centre that’s at least as big as the convention centre itself. TENT THAT SHIT. Run a ferry between the two points.
And if you think for a second, for a moment, that this is too expensive? Remember the Sony Party at E3 4 years ago. And remember that someone, somewhere, is paying $2.2 Million for a private concert by George Michael. Those people HAVE MONEY, you just need to learn where they are and get them hooked on comics or video games. I can personally recommend Scott Pilgrim.
Seriously: Microsoft & NBC Present: COMIC-CON AT PETCO PARK! Featuring X-Box 360 and the casts of THE OFFICE and 30 ROCK. That’d fill a baseball stadium.