Devolver loses $100K on banned E3 festival - NeoGAF
Link.QuotePublisher Devolver Digital's history of conflict with E3 took another turn this week, with the news that the company lost $100,000 on a failed attempt to hold a festival across the road from the Los Angeles Convention Center. Devolver co-founder Mike Wilson claims that E3 organizer Entertainment Software Association is to blame for his loss. In a statement to Polygon, an ESA spokesperson strenuously denied this allegation. Austin-based Devolver, best known for marketing and publishing indie games, generally camps in a parking lot behind the Hooters restaurant on Figueroa Street. That lot is owned by a private company which has a long-standing relationship with Devolver. The Entertainment Software Association, which organizes E3, derives no revenue from off-site activities that piggy-back the show. With 15,000 consumers expected at this year's E3 -- a first for the conference -- Devolver originally planned to double its presence, renting a lot adjacent to its usual location. This lot is usually taken by E3 and is either used for storing exhibitor semi-trucks or is rented out to exhibitors looking for an outside presence. This year, Devolver secured rental on the location. Unlike its usual location, this faces directly onto LACC, greatly increasing its visibility to crowds heading in and out of the convention center. However, this parking lot is owned by the City of Los Angeles, not by a private individual. When City officials learned that Devolver planned to invite thousands of consumers to a festival on the site, it denied all permits, except for vehicle parking. Devolver was told that it could not even use the lot to store its gear or to house functional equipment, like generators. "They assigned us a special bumb to make sure we did not do one thing," said Wilson. As a result, Wilson had to cancel plans, and squeeze represented developers into a smaller space. These developers include the Indie Megabooth. Wilson alleges that the ESA, which has a long-standing relationship with the city, is behind the permit denial. "E3 does not like us being here. We've always had a long-standing love-hate relationship. But not in a fudge-with-us kinda way, until this year. They just started making trouble for us with the City, saying, 'How dare you rent this space out to these renegades, blah, blah, blah.' Obviously, they have a lot of sway with the city. Phone calls were made and threats. We were being bullied."
QuoteWhen asked if the ESA had contacted the City about Devolver, a spokesperson for the ESA offered a categoric "No, we didn't." Wilson claims that ESA's usual use of the adjacent lot is "to park 18-wheelers like fence, just to block the view of us." The ESA denies this, arguing that it uses many open lots near LACC for storage. One senior ESA staff member, who asked not to be identified, told Polygon that the organization does not have much influence over the city, and that Wilson is seeking to generate publicity. "We've got better things to do than worry about Devolver," said the source. Polygon contacted the city's media department for a comment, but we have not yet received a reply. It's entirely possible that the City is merely protecting its own interests by denying the permit or has valid safety, legal or traffic concerns. A significant amount of construction is currently underway around the convention center. Wilson has a long history of antagonizing the ESA. For the past 15 years, his various companies, including Devolver, Gamecock and Gathering of Developers have often made use of parking lots to promote their games. He once held a mock funeral for E3, when it was being held in Santa Monica. He cultivates a reputation for cocking a snook at the perceived game industry establishment. Earlier this week, Devolver held a streamed media event that poked fun at the pomposities of games companies.More at the link.