E For All Attendance Down

The spectacle that was E3 is becoming a distant memory as attempts to recapture the magic of the extravagant gaming trade show miss the high-water mark left by past floods of gamers and industry professionals descending upon Los Angeles. Daily Variety reports that this year’s E for All suffered a 17% dip in attendance from last year’s inaugural event.

The failing economy and belt tightening on the part of gamers, publishers and developers has no doubt afflicted the 2008 edition, which ended over the weekend. The event attracted approximately 15,000 people, compared to last year’s headcount of roughly 18,000. August’s Penny Arcade gaming expo in Seattle did much better, drawing nearly 60,000 people.

Despite low attendance, E3 organizer IDG World Expo is hailing this year’s expo as success nonetheless. Those who showed up were treated to presentations and sneak peeks at new games from Microsoft, which sat out last year’s edition. Attendees also got to purchase new games on the spot through new retail partner Target.

After scaling back to become a smaller, press-oriented affair in 2007, E3 may open its doors to the public again next year, rumor has it. Also put on by IDG, the expo may even be absorbed into E for All. E3 was held in July at various hotels and other locations in Los Angeles.