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E3 Needs to Grow Up

Despite a growing call for change, the organizers of E3 have no plans to address the booth babe issue at the industry's biggest show.

I'm sure these women are well versed in the talking points for Namco Bandai's upcoming fighting game.

There’s been no shortage of discussion about women and video games this past week.

The conversation’s been driven by the gross response to Anita Sarkeesian’s nearly finished Kickstarter about the unfortunate and exclusionary tropes of female video game characters, and the quickly scrutinized comments from a producer on Tomb Raider about a potential rape scene (a description the studio has walked back) in the new game.

These are all good, uncomfortable conversations to have, but if we're talking about the depiction of women in games at such a serious level, how do we still have E3 booth babes? Other than for easy hits in web galleries, anyway.

The commonly referred to booth babe (also known as a "woman") is hired solely to wear skimpy clothing with a game or company’s logo and take photographs with attendees (who does that, by the way?). Typically, they are not well versed in the product they are hired to represent.

It seemed like a good time to check in with the Entertainment Software Association, who manages E3.

Despite some of the recent heated conversation, there are no plans to shift E3 policies.

"Exhibitors determine for themselves what is the best representation for their companies. Models are welcome if companies would like to have them, but that's an individual exhibitor decision,” said ESA VP of media relations and event management Dan Hewitt in an emailed statement to me yesterday.

Ghost Recon Commander designer Brenda Brathwaite sparked a vocal debate on Twitter over booth babes before she headed to the E3 show floor last Thursday.

“I dread heading off to work at E3 today,” she said. “The show is a constant assault on the female self esteem no matter which direction I look. I am in good shape, yet it is impossible not to compare. I feel uncomfortable. It is as if I walked into a strip club w/o intending to. These are the policies of @e3expo and @RichatESA. I feel uncomfortable in an industry I helped found.”

Her comments found plenty of support, such as Inside Network managing editor AJ Glasser.

@br The worst is when I get so good at seeing right through it that I forget they're actually women underneath the barely-there clothes.

— AJ Glasser (@Joygirl007) June 7, 2012

It’s not a new critique, but it was louder this year, and there seems to be a growing desire for change.

There was also the usual “what’s the big deal?” responses, including 3D Realms co-founder George Broussard.

@br I think you/others take it too seriously. It's not some academic event. It's a glitz show full of spectacle. #serious_business

— George Broussard (@georgeb3dr) June 7, 2012

It’s been a few years, but the ESA policy on booth babes has changed from E3's inception. The last major shift came in 2006, as new penalties, fines and policies were introduced regarding women featured in E3 exhibits.

"What's new in 2006 is an update and clarification of the enforcement policies; as we do from time to time, we have taken steps to ensure that exhibitors are familiar with the policy and how it will be enforced," said E3 show director Mary Dolaher to Reuters at the time.

A violation of the clothing policy would result in, at first, a warning, and then a $5,000 fine. Here’s what the handbook from 2006 said to exhibitors considering booth babes--er, sorry, live models:

"Material, including live models, conduct that is sexually explicit and/or sexually provocative, including but not limited to nudity, partial nudity and bathing suit bottoms, are prohibited on the show floor, all common areas, and at any access points to the show."

Hewitt told me there have been no changes to ESA policy since 2006.

Maybe there should be. Consider this anecdote that didn’t even take place on the show floor itself.

This was one of the first results the search term "Devil May Cry strippers" gave me, sorry.

We arrived to our Capcom appointment, I plunked down with Lost Planet 3, and Alex Navarro was ushered over to play Devil May Cry. In a room of kiosks, there were pole dancers. It’s unclear what that has to do with Devil May Cry. The girl hired to skimpily waltz around was sitting on the floor, looking bored. Everyone in the room is focused on playing the game, and Alex wasn't playing Devil May Cry in a see-through bubble. No one on the show floor could see this room. Can someone explain how this helps anyone do their job?

Elsewhere, I refused to play any 3DS games at Nintendo’s booth because the company didn’t have a table with machines, and instead tethered its lineup to attractive women. I let that gimmick slide when Nintendo pulled the same trick at the original 3DS unveiling, but I’ll just wait until those games are out now, thanks.

Nintendo probably thought it was a cute idea. I doubt (and this is my sincere hope) Nintendo meant to undermine the credibility of women at gaming’s biggest show. It's still ignorance. Many of the issues regarding women and E3 aren’t overtly offensive, and can be easily rationalized by those who don’t see a problem.

That’s okay--we should have a debate about it.

And this is all hardly an issue that’s exclusive to games. The same week as E3, the Computex Summit was happening in Taipei, and computer manufacturer ASUS sent out the following tweet:

That tweet has since been deleted and ASUS released an apology, obviously.

I can gripe all I want, but the most effective solution has to come from the ESA itself. Only the ESA can enforce regulations on exhibitors, and let them know this archaic marketing tool needs to go away. If games are growing up, so does the way we go about advertising them in front of, ostensibly, a bunch of professional. This isn’t 1994.

PAX figured this out years ago, even if there have been incidents along the way (i.e. Lollipop Chainsaw at PAX East).

“Our definition of a ‘booth babe’ has been a model (male or female) that has been hired to stand/sit in skimpy clothing to market the product,” said Penny Arcade president of business development in 2010. “If that person knows the product inside and out then it’s less of an issue. A company representative that can interact with attendees in a way that provides value as opposed to ‘hey stare at my body’ is something that we encourage whether or not that representative is physically attractive or not.”

If E3 is supposed to represent the industry’s best, why can’t it figure out how to respect its own attendees?

Patrick Klepek on Google+
1013 Comments
Posted by EnduranceFun

@captainanderson said:

This is an editorial piece, which means it's just Patrick speaking his mind.

That is not what should be the news. Giant Bomb is not Patrick's blog.

Posted by benu302000

@EnduranceFun said:

@captainanderson said:

This is an editorial piece, which means it's just Patrick speaking his mind.

That is not what should be the news. Giant Bomb is not Patrick's blog.

Giantbomb is not CNN. Get over yourself.

Edited by EnduranceFun

@benu302000 said:

@EnduranceFun said:

@captainanderson said:

This is an editorial piece, which means it's just Patrick speaking his mind.

That is not what should be the news. Giant Bomb is not Patrick's blog.

Giantbomb is not CNN. Get over yourself.

It ain't Kotaku, either.

EDIT: I also must add... why can't we have standards in games journalism, but we have to on trade floors. If you're calling for the bottom-of-the-barrel then why are booth babes, or anything for that matter, a problem? You can't have it both ways.

The industry must grow up, however, that doesn't mean its reporting should grow up. That is apparently for children.

Posted by benu302000

@sBlacksmith said:

I love to see how some idealists get all confused with booth babes.

- It's degrading to women, We must white knight it down!

- Wait, women choose to do it, women own their bodies, they can do whatever they want with it. We must defend it.

- Women can't be misogynist can they? Should I white knight on them? But that's misogyny I am a male!! I can't, too complex, brain hurts.

Way to miss the point. The point is that the exhibitors are to creating a strip club atmosphere and the ESA is choosing to allow it. Nevermind the booth babes themselves, what if you were a female game developer? Why should you put up with meat-market atmosphere just to do your job? What the fuck do padded bras and hot-pants have do with Halo 4?

Posted by Napalm

@MrMisanthrope said:

Ironically, when someone sees something that harms no one, gets offended by it and demands the practice be changed to accommodate their tastes and makes a big stink of it as done in this article, it's typically pretty obvious that they need to grow the fuck up.

I'm talking to you, Patrick. This whiny, stupid article is a joke. Booth babes? You're getting upset about BOOTH BABES? And you argue this while posting yaoi fanart you found online objectifying a male character? Seriously? Can you really be that detached? Sex sells, always has always will. Trying to vilify the drive that motivates every living creature on Earth is childish. Are you afraid these women will give you cooties?

To think a woman would claim it was an assault on her self esteem. The audacity, the selfishness. Does she think she's the center of the universe? She feels she's assaulted because she doesn't feel as pretty as these women?

Should Cirque Du Soleil fire the Gemini Brothers because male audience members feel inadequate by comparison? Should world famous chefs be forced to close shop because normal husbands and wives feel their self esteem is wounded because they can't cook as well? Should the Olympics and athletic sports be shut down entirely so as not to offend everyone who wishes to be that athletic, but hasn't gone through the training? Why give out grades at school? The less intelligent students might get depressed they don't perform as well as their classmates. Unbelievably childish "ME ME ME" thinking.

Not to mention the remarkable immaturity of the mindset that any descent from your opinion is trolling. Anyone who disagrees is a misogynist or trolling to stir up controversy. Why address their arguments when you can dismiss them with an ad hominem, right? You don't have to listen to what those big ol' meanies say!

Here's a thought Patrick, if you don't like what goes on at E3, don't go to E3. If it offends you so much, get a job in another field instead of kicking up false controversy in the hopes of getting in on some of that internet feminism money.

To simplify, grow up Patrick. Just grow up.

Look at you, walking in here and saying, "I got this one, guys," and followed it up with, "and watch the throne."

Posted by ItBeStefYo

George Broussard, a co-creator of Duke Nukem defended the booth babes.

SHUT IT ALL DOWN, ALL OF IT.

Posted by ninjalegend

The reason booth babes are used is because people, for the most part, have the attention span of a gnat and sex appeals to the primary human function. It is just lazy advertising. They are hoping to catch your attention as quickly and effectively as possible. Directed marketing could be much more effective on a per person reached basis, but sex is kind of like the shotgun effect, pulling in every sentient being with a working sex drive.

Directed advertisement works a treat when done properly. Take taco bell for example. Their commercials stress how late they are open. Yeah their food is crap, but if it's real late they will still have a taco for you to buy. That message is clear and concise enough about the pros of that establishment to sway would be late night buyers. The problem is shit like sex or using some talentless pop star to push you product is an effective way to reach a lot of people. One of the people you know may be infatuated with said pop star, and you inadvertently hear about the product. Or in a case like this one where I had no major interest in Tekken Tag. I am kind of done with fighting games for now. Just taking a break for a few months. Now, Tekken Tag is in my face, it's logo emblazoned across the chests of many a booth babe. And did I see this from watching a press conference or some other E3 video for Namco? No, I see it on a post on GB with an article against the use of booth babes at a show. Sex, talentless pop stars, memes, and other lazy advertising tricks are not only mass market and effective, they also have a way of going viral. And any exposure is good exposure.

So, either change the average intelligence and attention span of your fellow man Patrick or find a way to deaden yourself to this barrage of advertising stupidity.

Posted by sthusby

@Toxeia: I don't know man. More and more as I've gotten older I've started to question things. Lately I've been pondering if we're moving to far away from what we initially were, and more often than not I find that the answer is yes. Guys like to look at hot women, that's just part of what we are. Also I think the women's right movement has gotten way out of hand, and has done itself a disservice by acting like idiots.

Just a tiny example. I live in europe, so I'm of course following the European Championship in football (soccer) this summer. This time, they're doing the women's cup at the same time. In earlier years it used to be that they hosted the men's cup during even years, and the women's cup during odd years. But that was apparantly sexist. So now that they host it at the same time, nobody watches the women. Was that really sexist, or was it just practical? I feel like there are tons of examples like that.

That being said, as I mentioned, I live in europe. We're generally less concerned with sexuality over here than in the states. You guys need to lighten up. I like playing video games, and I like looking at boobs. Why shoudln't I do both at the same time? Besides, use it to your advantage. From experience I can tell you that booth babes generally give you their number if you just talk to them like a normal person would, instead of putting them on a pedestal.

Posted by 137

Megen Belet, YES PLEASE!!!

Posted by captainanderson

@EnduranceFun said:

@benu302000 said:

@EnduranceFun said:

@captainanderson said:

This is an editorial piece, which means it's just Patrick speaking his mind.

That is not what should be the news. Giant Bomb is not Patrick's blog.

Giantbomb is not CNN. Get over yourself.

It ain't Kotaku, either.

EDIT: I also must add... why can't we have standards in games journalism, but we have to on trade floors. If you're calling for the bottom-of-the-barrel then why are booth babes, or anything for that matter, a problem? You can't have it both ways.

The industry must grow up, however, that doesn't mean its reporting should grow up. That is apparently for children.

Jeff speaks his mind about the state of the industry all the time on Jar Time and the Bombcast, I don't see what's so different or bad about Patrick doing it in the form of an article. Either you really hate the guy, or you don't quite get how journalism works.

Posted by KaosAngel

No it doesn't.

Objectifying women is awesome! It's what gamers should do to promote gaming as a serious industry!

Posted by zodstein

Since women are equal, how about letting them fight their own battles....

Posted by spilledmilkfactory

That Nintendo thing with the 3DS's strung to booth babes was kind of disgusting. I would feel so awkward attempting to play a game when it's strapped to a woman I'm supposed to be ogling

Posted by Dagbiker

@spilledmilkfactory said:

That Nintendo thing with the 3DS's strung to booth babes was kind of disgusting. I would feel so awkward attempting to play a game when it's strapped to a woman I'm supposed to be ogling

I feel pretty bad for the girls. I mean how do you act, do you just smile the whole time. How boring would that be. I went to a car show once and all the girls do are stand there. I guess thats what they get paid to know and do.

Posted by EverydayOdyssey

E3 reflects the industry, albeit to an extreme. But, it will not grow up in regards to the over sexualization of women until the games grow up.

Posted by sBlacksmith

@benu302000 said:

@sBlacksmith said:

I love to see how some idealists get all confused with booth babes.

- It's degrading to women, We must white knight it down!

- Wait, women choose to do it, women own their bodies, they can do whatever they want with it. We must defend it.

- Women can't be misogynist can they? Should I white knight on them? But that's misogyny I am a male!! I can't, too complex, brain hurts.

Way to miss the point. The point is that the exhibitors are to creating a strip club atmosphere and the ESA is choosing to allow it. Nevermind the booth babes themselves, what if you were a female game developer? Why should you put up with meat-market atmosphere just to do your job? What the fuck do padded bras and hot-pants have do with Halo 4?

I agree that booth babes thing is retarded, but own its own sake. Much like it would be if they promoted games with furry mascots. It's just not the right image .. be it right or wrong.

Posted by Apathylad

I really wanted to leave this topic alone, because it's such an ugly one, but the other day, Wombat from CAG tweeted "writing an article about E3 "booth babes" without taking into account the feelings or opinions of said babes, can also come off as sexist." Thinking about this article and the comments, it reminded me of that tweet. I'm not a fan of booth babes either, but Patrick posting a random booth babe picture with the snarky "these women" comment strikes me as off-color, considering the message he's trying to get across in the rest of the article. Frankly, without that image and the caption, your point would be more consistent. To me, it comes across as mean spirited to just include a picture of a person to just make a joke about his or her lack of knowledge in a subject, especially when you're trying to argue that our industry should be more tolerant.

Posted by Grimluck343

@Apathylad said:

I really wanted to leave this topic alone, because it's such an ugly one, but the other day, Wombat from CAG tweeted "writing an article about E3 "booth babes" without taking into account the feelings or opinions of said babes, can also come off as sexist." Thinking about this article and the comments, it reminded me of that tweet. I'm not a fan of booth babes either, but Patrick posting a random booth babe picture with the snarky "these women" comment strikes me as off-color, considering the message he's trying to get across in the rest of the article. Frankly, without that image and the caption, your point would be more consistent. To me, it comes across as mean spirited to just include a picture of a person to just make a joke about his or her lack of knowledge in a subject, especially when you're trying to argue that our industry should be more tolerant.

This might be the best comment here.

Posted by ervin080275

The same thing happens if you are in a bar during a vodka or tequila promotion. Anytime there is an environment that is male dominated marketing directors know that sex sells. It's simple as that. Women are also being sold things in a matter that touches them. It may not be beefcake, but companies may try to make a more emotion connection. Men and women are obviously drawn to different things. There is no need to try and make them the same

Edited by dvorak

This article really isn't complete without including the opinion of a few actual models, the people who hire them, and some kind of interview with a marketing group responsible for hiring them. The view of what's right and wrong with regards to the female representation at E3 can't exactly be decided by a 20-something dude alone, either. This come off way more like a angry misplaced rant that belongs on a blog, than a work of journalism that covers all the bases.

If the gaming enthusiast press wants to actually be considered journalism, as I believe that Patrick would like to see, it should probably operate as an actual journalistic enterprise and have some procedures and standards. At that point, I'm not even sure it would fit on a site like Giant Bomb anyway. The only people that should give a shit about that end of stuff is people who actually work in the industry, and there's already sites that do a pretty good job of it.

If this is just an editorial piece by the way, where's the disclaimer that it's just Patrick's opinion? At the very least just stick an "Editorial: ..." on the front of the article or something and then anything goes, and this whole argument is moot, and we don't have to have this horrible dispute every time Patrick does his thing.

Posted by jnw93

@chaosnovaxz said:

Totally agree.

Booth babes are objectifying to women, as well as insulting to the male audience for what their existence implies about that audience's maturity.

100% agree, its a stupid.

Edited by AlexanderSheen

It would be much better and credible if Patrick have asked some questions from the booth babes about what they think about all of this.

Also, if this were a thread or a blog post from a user, it would have been locked by now, because this is just an anger and flamewar factory.

Posted by Grimluck343

@dvorak said:

This article really isn't complete without including the opinion of a few actual models, the people who hire them, and some kind of interview with a marketing group responsible for hiring them. The view of what's right and wrong with regards to the female representation at E3 can't exactly be decided by a 20-something dude alone, either. This come off way more like a angry misplaced rant that belongs on a blog, than a work of journalism that covers all the bases.

If the gaming enthusiast press wants to actually be considered journalism, as I believe that Patrick would like to see, it should probably operate as an actual journalistic enterprise and have some procedures and standards. At that point, I'm not even sure it would fit on a site like Giant Bomb anyway. The only people that should give a shit about that end of stuff is people who actually work in the industry, and there's already sites that do a pretty good job of it.

If this is just an editorial piece by the way, where's the disclaimer that it's just Patrick's opinion? At the very least just stick an "Editorial: ..." on the front of the article or something and then anything goes, and this whole argument is moot, and we don't have to have this horrible dispute every time Patrick does his thing.

I think you hit on a much larger problem with the news section of Giant Bomb in general: what exactly is the editorial direction for their news? This isn't even a criticism of Patrick because he has written some excellent stuff (I'm looking at you, Molyneux interview) but it just seems so scatter shot and everywhere. Is the end goal for Alex to write up the actual news stories while Patrick writes the editorials (the "blog" posts, as you mention)? It just seems super confusing and odd to see opinion pieces wirtten in the middle of a row of news stories.

Posted by Anwar

@Grimluck343 said:

@Apathylad said:

I really wanted to leave this topic alone, because it's such an ugly one, but the other day, Wombat from CAG tweeted "writing an article about E3 "booth babes" without taking into account the feelings or opinions of said babes, can also come off as sexist." Thinking about this article and the comments, it reminded me of that tweet. I'm not a fan of booth babes either, but Patrick posting a random booth babe picture with the snarky "these women" comment strikes me as off-color, considering the message he's trying to get across in the rest of the article. Frankly, without that image and the caption, your point would be more consistent. To me, it comes across as mean spirited to just include a picture of a person to just make a joke about his or her lack of knowledge in a subject, especially when you're trying to argue that our industry should be more tolerant.

This might be the best comment here.

Nope, you don't get it, thank you Patrick for another great insightful news article. /sarcasm

Edited by Leviathan2000

pffff, uhmmm, sorry Pat, but that talk 'bout a girlfriend, that's you right!

Posted by ineedmoneyplyr

I do not feel insulted. We all know that these kind,chilvarous "gamers" objectify women behind closed doors and then act like they are sickened by the live models at E3. We all know it just makes them feel uncomfortable.

We know why they are their and the problem lies within the way the individual perceives it. Sorry Patrick it is you who needs to grow up.

Posted by Horry43

This is pathetic. I can't believe there are issues here. I can't believe this is on GiantBomb.com

Posted by Anwar

She talks about a lot of important issues, I can't understand how somebody could've thought that she has no idea what she's talking about.

Posted by dvorak

@Grimluck343 said:

I think you hit on a much larger problem with the news section of Giant Bomb in general: what exactly is the editorial direction for their news? This isn't even a criticism of Patrick because he has written some excellent stuff (I'm looking at you, Molyneux interview) but it just seems so scatter shot and everywhere. Is the end goal for Alex to write up the actual news stories while Patrick writes the editorials (the "blog" posts, as you mention)? It just seems super confusing and odd to see opinion pieces written in the middle of a row of news stories.

You are definitely right about that. This isn't news, so it just flat out shouldn't be classified as such. That's not to say that there isn't a place for this kind of article on the site. News and editorials should be clearly separated somehow. Without that separation, you enter the territory of "our opinion is the news" or "this article reflects the opinion of Giant Bomb", neither of which may be the case. The site needs someone or everyone to act as an actual editor and clean this stuff up. It just seems so all over the place to have an OP-ED piece right between a trailer and an actual news article.

It's not just a matter of site design either. Is Patrick the only person doing Opinion articles? Should we automatically assume that all his articles are opinion based? How should opinion inside of news articles be handled? What if Alex makes commentary on a game in one of his news articles?

There's a reason the New York Times and other actual journalistic entities put OP-ED articles on the back page, so there's no confusion, and clearly labels them as such. It's the same reason why media outlets like Fox News, CNN and MSNBC get shit for reporting people's opinions as news as well.

There's a greater argument to be had, but the best for everyone is just to label what is and isn't news accurately and separate the opinion out. At the very least there could be some more editing to make things clearer.

Posted by SpiderCabaret

Booth babes are so utterly benign that I can't help but see this as a lazy, self-serving attempt at manufacturing moral outrage so that when we inevitably move on, everyone can pat themselves on the back and say "Hey, I helped." And then when we complain about it next year, we can all go "Don't look at me, I tried to fix it before."

With regards to the broader issues, you can say "Oh, well the talk is good", but we've been talking about it for years and we've been saying the exact same bloody things for years but no one seems to want to sit down and actually do something about it, no one seems to even have a clue how to do something about it and at the end of the day, we're all just saying that it's not on and then leaving people to their own devices.

Posted by ashriels

@SpiderCabaret said:

Booth babes are so utterly benign that I can't help but see this as a lazy, self-serving attempt at manufacturing moral outrage so that when we inevitably move on, everyone can pat themselves on the back and say "Hey, I helped." And then when we complain about it next year, we can all go "Don't look at me, I tried to fix it before."

With regards to the broader issues, you can say "Oh, well the talk is good", but we've been talking about it for years and we've been saying the exact same bloody things for years but no one seems to want to sit down and actually do something about it, no one seems to even have a clue how to do something about it and at the end of the day, we're all just saying that it's not on and then leaving people to their own devices.

To dissolve this practice would require a complete reformation of culture. It's a practice that has and continues to be used in every facet of marketing. It's a more convoluted and penetrated topic than you might believe it is.

@dvorak said:

This isn't news

news (link)

[nooz, nyooz]

a person, thing, or event considered as a choice subject for journalistic treatment

By definition this is news.

Posted by JasonR86

@patrickklepek:

I don't know if you'll read this but this entire article sounds pandering and elitist. People like yourself have just perpetuated further bitching about a known problem. It's as if people think that the rest of us don't know that sexism still exists. But knowing and bitching about a problem doesn't fix the problem. What I find so disheartening about your article and articles like it is that it sounds as if it is riding the coat tails of a big response to a widely known but ever popular topic that will continued to be bitched about and taken advantage of for monetary gain; sexism. It's the problem everyone is an expert at recognizing and complaining about but few are capable of truly fixing.

Edited by DeadSpace

Sarcasm alert: Do you want to know what I think games press needs more of? The opinions of 20-something straight white men. Please! I REALLY need to hear more from them! There can never be enough straight white dudes weighing in on the important issues of the day. Here's a clue GiantBomb and every other games site: hire a more diverse staff if you want to really dig into complicated issues like this one.

Posted by Rxanadu

God fucking dammit.  God. Fucking. Dammit. GOD FUCKING DAMMIT!!!!
 
If this ruins Patrick here at Giant Bomb, I'll never forgive you guys.  He's the only -- and, I mean ONLY -- person on Giant Bomb that brings any constructive criticism to the site; even Jeff isn't bothered to bring much of anything to the site these days (other than his Jar movies), and he started the damn site!  Without Klepeck, we probably wouldn't have had, of all things, the MolyJam AND the 8-4 podcast, so he more than deserves your time and attention and less of your poorly thought-out criticism about an issue that hasn't been spoken of for ages yet continuously proves to be a proverbial thorn in this industry's side.  
 
As for the actual issue: if we do away with booth babes, what will be there in it's place?  Will there absence be enough to usher reporters to booths more efficiently?  We have to ask these sorts of questions (and at least attempt to answer them) to figure out why booth babes has become a dilemma of such importance as to the industry's detriment.  
 
I am under the assumption of booth babes being nothing but attractive signs for reporters to get a bead on the different game kiosks, and at that point, they succeed.  However, if they are merely signs for their game's respective kiosks, then would it not be more economically efficient to make more traditional signs to attract reporters (e.g. false performances of people playing the game in a sense of enjoyment, large screens showing live feed of the game in action or of pre-recorded demo showing off interesting features of the game to those less informed about the game) rather than spend money on living sign posts?
 
If we take into account that some reporters wonder why booth babes aren't as informed about the game, then the developers should have a mandatory exam to test their knowledge of the game and its inner workings before they are given the position.  This would require the developers to divulge some information they may not want the general public to know about the game, thus requiring the temporary employee to be subject under an embargo system similar to reporters forcing them to remain quiet about the game's features lest they be blacklisted from the company.  This warning will ensure booth babes will have to be more interested in the game to take the job, thus ensuring trust between them and the developer.  They will also be able to answer most, if not all, questions about the game while knowing when to remain quiet.
 
In terms of their wardrobe, however: they should have more relaxed clothing to ensure they are mistaken for developers or, at the very least, people who appear to be informed about the game.  As a rule of thumb, they should remember they're whoring the game, not themselves.  When someone leaves the booth after talking to a booth babe, they should leave with more information about the game then they had before; if not, they should at least be reassured enough about what they already knew about the game to write an article as soon as possible.  
 
Regardless of what future awaits for booth babes, I just hope developers can use them in an effective way without either deterring from their game in any way or harming the overall respect of the game industry. 

Posted by CristianStone

Using women in skimpy clothing to get attention for your product is sad because it should be the product that is good enough to attract the attention on it's own. That should be the main issue with having booth babes at E3 or any other expo. Using the whole "objectification of women" take is just being politically correct. If you were actually worried about that particular issue you should first take on the porn industry and magazines like Playboy and Maxim and then worry about a 3 day expo that has women with skimpy clothing on it.

Posted by Eyz

@CristianStone said:

Using women in skimpy clothing to get attention for your product is sad because it should be the product that is good enough to attract the attention on it's own. That should be the main issue with having booth babes at E3 or any other expo. Using the whole "objectification of women" take is just being politically correct. If you were actually worried about that particular issue you should first take on the porn industry and magazines like Playboy and Maxim and then worry about a 3 day expo that has women with skimpy clothing on it.

that!

Posted by skzip888

@Anwar: She's also gone on record as saying Portal 2 is about non-violent conflict resolution when the entire franchise centers around two female characters trying to kill each other. Also, that Bayonetta video is asserting that a sexy picture invoking an "adolescent" "male" fantasy has something to do with encouraging molesters. This goes back to the Booth babe argument; sex does not turn people evil or immature, and trying to cover it up just makes it naughtier than it need be. Moreover, I have no intention of freezing half to death on a subway platform just because the only remaining seats are on the ladies' only car.

Posted by Kierkegaard

@skzip888 said:

sex does not turn people evil or immature, and trying to cover it up just makes it naughtier than it need be.

No, but making a person into a sexual object does make society less likely to see people that look like that person as a person at all. It makes people who many consider sexually attractive, of any gender, less human. That's a bad thing. It should stop.

So say you are sexually attracted to the women at the top of this article, right? It follows that, in a perfect world, you want to have consensual sexual interaction with people you are sexually attracted to. That's not a bad thing. It's bad when a person becomes a hypothetical sex toy rather than another human you are attracted to. That's the ethos of booth babes. They are living marketing ploys to make you associate a game with the idea of sexiness.

Making a writer trying to cover your game play that game on a handheld TETHERED TO A HUMAN WOMAN is absurd. It would be just as absurd, if more equally offensive, if they were tethered to men and women.

You are arguing against the weakest counter argument. Someone who is saying sex is evil is wrong. Someone who is saying that there is nothing wrong with using people as sex toys in marketing is also wrong. Reducing arguments to their worst forms is lazy and wrong.

Posted by sickVisionz

@bunnymud said:

2012 rolls on as the most embarrassing year for people who like video games and aren't hyper PC .

Gotta agree with this guy.

Additionally, it's kinda hard for me to buy into the whole call for maturity and ultra PC at E3 when most of the games shown are you running around shooting people in the face or feature content far more sexualized than a girl in shorts and a tanktop.

Posted by Anwar

@Kierkegaard: Why is that a new thing? What about popstars, actresses etc.? And those 3DS were attached to women before, how is that something so disgusting and shocking that you can't suck it up and do your job? And don't you think that not covering those games isn't really taking a stance for jack shit since you're still attending this event? Should've thought about not going at all if it's that big of an issue.

Posted by Kierkegaard

@Anwar said:

@Kierkegaard: Why is that a new thing? What about popstars, actresses etc.? And those 3DS were attached to women before, how is that something so disgusting and shocking that you can't suck it up and do your job? And don't you think that not covering those games isn't really taking a stance for jack shit since you're still attending this event? Should've thought about not going at all if it's that big of an issue.

If you're looking for hypocrisy in my tastes or something, that's not really going to get you anywhere. It's fallacious to dismiss an argument based on the consistency of the arguer if the argument itself is sound.

Now, then, whenever, it's a bad thing. Yeah, time changes what society deems acceptable treatment of others, but it moves generally toward treating people as purposeful agents with free will and away from treating them like things.

Rather than criticizing game enthusiasts for not doing enough, how bout having a real discussion about how to change it? Sure mass protest may be one way. A collective letter writing campaign to all developers.

Pointing out a problem, even one that others have pointed out or you didn't point out in the past, is not cowardly. It is doing something. You can always do more, but I appreciate for saying something constructive about it.

What are you doing but impeding progress toward resolution with your nit picking?

Posted by tarquinbb

oh dear... yeah and when i see men at the gym or topless on holiday i can't help but compare and feel inferior and uncomfortable.

for crying out loud, these people are proud of their bodies and they want to flaunt it. they are not slaves. give them a break!

the only reason it could be seen as demeaning is because there's a this feminist stigma floating around which makes both booth babes and onlookers feel awkward. if you look at a booth babe you're a hard-up geek, if you are a booth babe you're some kind of slag.

sorry, but if you think it's bad taste then you're wrong. it's should be a fun occasion, the girls presumably gain satisfaction through providing light hearted cheerful amusement to the E3 goers, they don't need to be demeaned by being told "blah blah oh im disappointed in you" like a stripper's mother says to her daughter.

Posted by ANDS

Is there anyone who is at least marginally socially adjusted who goes to these tradeshows (whether they be for electronics, video games, cars or w/e) see's a Booth Bade and thinks: "Now THERE's a real woman!"

This hand wringing that Patrick and the female designer quoted are going on about is ridiculous. As has been beat upon "Sex sells. . ." That's it. These companies aren't advancing some ridiculous anti-feminist agenda, or trying to hang on to old school male dominated social mores, they are appealing to the fantasy in men (and hell some women).

Posted by Impossibilium

Maybe talking to some actual babes at the show might have given this article some semblance of balance instead of regurgitating other people's opinions. Like these guys did: http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474979423477 Turns out most don't have a problem with it (they get paid after all) and more than a few play video games too.

Posted by EnduranceFun

@dvorak said:

@Grimluck343 said:

I think you hit on a much larger problem with the news section of Giant Bomb in general: what exactly is the editorial direction for their news? This isn't even a criticism of Patrick because he has written some excellent stuff (I'm looking at you, Molyneux interview) but it just seems so scatter shot and everywhere. Is the end goal for Alex to write up the actual news stories while Patrick writes the editorials (the "blog" posts, as you mention)? It just seems super confusing and odd to see opinion pieces written in the middle of a row of news stories.

You are definitely right about that. This isn't news, so it just flat out shouldn't be classified as such. That's not to say that there isn't a place for this kind of article on the site. News and editorials should be clearly separated somehow. Without that separation, you enter the territory of "our opinion is the news" or "this article reflects the opinion of Giant Bomb", neither of which may be the case. The site needs someone or everyone to act as an actual editor and clean this stuff up. It just seems so all over the place to have an OP-ED piece right between a trailer and an actual news article.

It's not just a matter of site design either. Is Patrick the only person doing Opinion articles? Should we automatically assume that all his articles are opinion based? How should opinion inside of news articles be handled? What if Alex makes commentary on a game in one of his news articles?

There's a reason the New York Times and other actual journalistic entities put OP-ED articles on the back page, so there's no confusion, and clearly labels them as such. It's the same reason why media outlets like Fox News, CNN and MSNBC get shit for reporting people's opinions as news as well.

There's a greater argument to be had, but the best for everyone is just to label what is and isn't news accurately and separate the opinion out. At the very least there could be some more editing to make things clearer.

You said it, brother. All I want is consistency.

Posted by RenMcKormack

doesn't this whole thought prices imply that the lady models are too dumb to know they are dressed in skimpy outfits?

Posted by rahulricky

CBA to go through to comments to see if it has been suggested already (mostly because I don't want to read a bunch of comments saying it doesn't matter, because it does), but rather than the ESA regulating that companies shouldn't be using models to hawk their wares, people should complain directly to companies who use them and support companies who aren't arseholes when marketing their games. http://machinestudios.co.uk/viewentry.php?id=54 We need this list to be shorter.

Posted by valrog

Car shows have "booth babes" too, I don't see anyone complaining about that...

Posted by shodan2020
Edited by sandweed

If this is the issue that makes you put down your controller, stand up, put on your fighting pants and take a stand, I'm fucking out, where do I turn in my gaming card? I don't want to be associated with you misogynistic pieces of shit.