E for All: Consumers don’t really matter?

E for everyoneBasically, all the signs and portents say that E for All — the consumer-focused conference meant to replace E3 — is going to be dead on arrival when it begins in mid-October.

There’s no Microsoft presence there, nor Sony, nor Activision, Capcom, NCSoft, Sega, Midway, etc. EA is rumored to be on the cusp of bowing out. The only company of note still committed to the conference is Nintendo. So there’s still a weak pulse — Monty Python would say it’s not dead yet — but I imagine even Nintendo will be rolling out Wi Sports demos and Mii creation stations. I hope they don’t though.

Put simply, I think an opportunity exists for them to do more.

I really don’t know what to make of the mass bailout going on with major publishers. On the one hand I don’t really care about E for All to begin with, but then again I’ve never really been into the Old Boys Club schmoozefest that exists between journalists and publishers at these events (LinuxWorld, however, that’s another story). On the other hand, I can’t help but think this as a great representation of how little the consumer actually matters to these companies. You really don’t. They’ll say their non-attendance is a money thing, but really, how better to market your games to the consumers than actually show them at a consumer show? It’s almost, dare I say it, like they know if they show them to the gaming press first (you know, hardcore gamers posing as journalists?), they’ll get a better review than if they let consumers decide for themselves. How odd.

This is E for All. It’s not being marketed as a competitive show. It’s being marketed as the consumer’s show, and yet big name companies like Microsoft and Sony couldn’t be bothered and bailed with little thought or serious explanation. “Journalists” like those that exist on high traffic gaming blogs today have done little to help E for Everyone; mockery and cynicism seem to be par for the course. It’s much cooler to be snarky than professional, apparently.

It’s at this moment, when I see the major publishers and the journalists off in their little corner, snickering at the consumer-focused show, that I get a sad mental image. I see insecurity. The journalists couldn’t wait for the “public” portion of E3 to be carved out, and the publishers seemingly can’t wait not to attend a show where the end user is the focus. It’s yet another echo chamber in an industry now notorious for caring only what happens to a certain type of gamer.

So I sincerely hope Nintendo plans a surprise or two for this conference; for this non-event in the eyes of the mainstream media and the big name publishers. I hope they take the stage, or a soap box, or whatever IDG can afford to give them, and make a statement about how Sony and Microsoft don’t really care about true gamers, and that all of their promises about expanding gaming are about as reliable as Xbox 360 hardware. Maybe they’ll even dust off a Megaton announcement and really set the Net on fire. It will be a fitting beginning of the end for the Old Boys Club and yet another coup for Nintendo.

Any of you people who don’t matter to Sony or Microsoft anymore planning on going?

EDIT — E for ALL.  Thanks!