From booth-babes to the new E3 - editorial

From booth-babes to the new E3 - editorial

(Virginia and Stefania have chosen to create a four-handed article, in the form of a dialogue, to analyze the evolution of a phenomenon that has almost completely vanished: the booth-babes)

V: Once upon a time a beautiful girl, in more or less skimpy clothes, who with a winking look and a bright smile was happy to invite journalists to enter a booth to try out the game or hardware of the moment. The events dedicated to the videogame world represented, and still represent, despite their digitization, the salient period in which to dream and be bewitched: why not expand that sensation with a seductive model?

The video game sector, such as that of motors for example, saw the birth in the 2000s of a union between woman and the object of desires that dictated the laws of marketing for a long time. But if attractive girls during a Motor Show knew how to draw attention to the latest Ducati model with poses that made the two-wheeler even more sinuous, the videogame counterpart has always held on much lower temperatures but not for this reason with fewer necklines.

In addition to presiding over the stands, the booth-babes used to entertain spectators with shows and choreographies. The representatives of the fair sex who presided over the gaming-themed fairs, alternating perhaps with movie stars during the showcases, have actually always depicted an image that is very distant from the product they were representing. Most of them, in fact, were not gamers or fans but simply image girls. Beauty has always been a factor that draws attention to what you want to show, a natural and highly efficient communication strategy. The spell, however, is broken when you try to idealize such figures, forgetting that in the end, for the girl in question, it is just a job in which there are no bonuses if you are more sensual, talkative or how many photos are taken of her. br>
Many believe that booth-babes are simply a staff employed to strengthen the marketing strategies of a product, while others see in these women with little cloth on them a symbol of commodification for a substantially more conspicuous return on business . But luckily, as in almost all sectors, society is evolving towards new rules. And just as the stereotype of the pimply nerd with thick glasses has diminished, the presences at the entrance of the stands of E3 and other events have been replaced by professionals within the sector, paid directly by the software houses and no longer by the private agencies.

S: In those years, when it often seemed to have seen a heavenly supernatural being, discordant emotions permeated the various stands. This was probably the problem, and I am directly connected to Virginia's speech. Initially, beauty was the essential pivot of this phenomenon, consequently it did not matter if they were informed about video games or, in any case, about the products they presented. Their purpose was, as my colleague already said, to make anything they talk about look wonderfully extraordinary, almost as if those products were miraculously adorned with sparkling diamonds with a choral group in the background. In short, paradise. Fortunately, however, this phenomenon has begun to fade and evolve into dynamics that go hand in hand with our surroundings.

"Hey, come and try Dynasty Warriors 8?" Said the charming damsel .. In 2017 it was almost impossible to find booth-babes: one of the reasons is that the latter have been replaced by cosplayers. The most important reason, however, was the $ 5,000 penalty imposed by the ESA in case of partial nudity or in any case of particularly provocative behavior (after a second warning, precisely). The positive side of this change is that a kind of balance has begun to emerge, which is why the cosplayers hired at the fairs are no longer exclusively women but also men. The most important thing, however, is that these people are genuinely interested in their surroundings.

Xseed, for example, does not hire promotional models but real players interested in the product represented. Precisely for this reason genuinely passionate people have begun to propose themselves, and this does not exclusively concern models or cosplayers. The presentations themselves have begun to enjoy greater female representation, and I am referring to the industry itself. It is therefore not a question of a disappearance of those mythological beings, but of an evolution of the commercial world in video games.

V: All in all, whether they are models or cosplayers, the combination of beauty and video games has stood the test of the time, unlike the Grid-girls, the so-called umbrellas, who left the scene starting from 2018. Although the Asian and Los Angeles team saw the phenomenon of the image girl explode and take root, as far as Italy is concerned the situation is always been much more sober and free of excesses. Obviously, the homegrown events are undoubtedly more limited in number of presences and of relevance at world level, and the color between the stalls and the stands is given by passionate and lovers of the genre who for a day or two wear the shoes of their own character. favorite.

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When a product presentation turned into a show a all effects. S: Surely there are still many problems to be solved but it is undeniable how much things have changed over the years. Of course, we have yet to see how these dynamics evolve, especially with the return of live events, but we in the industry look forward to seeing an increasingly gradual positive evolution. One thing is certain: now publishers will have to rely on other means of strategy and communication, and these will have to be effective if they want to charm the players even for the less interesting products. For my part, I hope to see a greater representation of women at 360 degrees. I am not referring exclusively to cosplayers or presenters but also to developers, social media managers and everything related to the internal gaming world.

V: We do not know if the events dedicated to video games will become completely digital after what has happened in the last two years. What is certain is the desire to attend more and more shows and emotions on the stages of these great events that have always tried to make us dream. As long as there is awareness of the image that these girls are called to reflect for a few days, a warm smile awaiting us in the pavilions will certainly bring more color and appeal rather than a flood of sterile controversies. After all, who are we to judge?

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