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E3: 2014 Editorial: The Decline of Swag!


What happened to the cool free stuff at E3 2014?

This year E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) was underwhelming. The booths were difficult to navigate. The swag was almost nonexistent. The lines for swag were longer, and the hurdles you had to jump through were higher. The security was tighter and ID was required to get through the door which led to less attendees as Game Stop Managers could not share badges as they have in the past. They were even guarding the doors to the lobby and checking for IDs and badges there as well.

Nintendo which usually has some of the best swag had very little to spare and most of it had to be won by beating other gamers. Sega usually has a lanyard, buttons and other swag. This year they only had a Sonic Boom bag and a patch from Alien and they ran out of the bags on the second day. Throughout the whole convention I saw only two lanyards as swag. The one you get with your badge and one from Square Enix.

The amount of publishers on the convention floor shrinks every year. With the bigger publishers and system developers gobbling up that space. Because of technology most of the paper items that were handed out in the past are now gone.

In the past, the atmosphere outside the expo was just as exciting as inside the con. With free cars washes from strippers, free parking, tons of swag and free energy drinks to keep the gamers going… all that is now gone. I had friends that would come all three days of the expo just for the outside festivities. This year they had Uber promoting their bootleg taxi service, and free giant turkey legs from Warner Brothers promoting the game Gauntlet. In the past, there were sometimes two to three free food choices inside and out for regular attendees and with that food you were given swag. So, as you would expect, nothing came with that free turkey leg this year.

How soon until E3 is swagless and is just a virtual experience?