E3 – what’s missing?

I’m dating myself, but I have attended every E3 since the beginning. And actually before the beginning …. when games companies showed at Comdex in Chicago, CES, and even New York Toy Fair. I missed two years – 2008 and 2009, when I took my detour into the toy business at LeapFrog and “didn’t have time” to visit E3. What a mistake …. because the games business marched on while I was away. Or did it?

E3 2010 was a 15 to 25 year old guys  gamer fantasy land.  Action, first person shooting games dominating – New Halo, new SOCOM, new Kill Zone. Big budget, high production value games akin to action movies stole the show – TRON.  Amazing new Star Wars games – The Old Republic and The Force Unleashed 2. New kinds of controllers – Microsoft Kinect and Sony Move got a lot of press. Nintendo DS 3D stole the show. On Live impressed. I found myself wondering ….. where are all the social games? where are all the mobile games? where are all the kids games?

Incredible to think that the most dynamic part of the gaming business was virtually unrepresented at E3.  No Zynga Farmville or Mafia Wars. No Tap Tap Revenge. No iPad Scrabble or iPhone Angry Birds. How did it happen that the Electronic Entertainment Expo became only about game product sold at retail?

Also interesting to think that even though kids may be the hardest core gamers of all (based on time spent playing), product for them is limited – except the biggest licenses like Toy Story , Harry Potter, and Mario.

In an industry that’s struggling to avoid the fate of the music business, why aren’t we   pushing harder to expand the audience with compelling, innovative game play for all audiences and working harder on the marketing side to make sure these games get the exposure deserved?

The gaming business has changed in the two years I was away. E3 didn’t, but it should have.