Ah, booth babes, the marketing throwback to the stereotype of the masturbating basement-dwelling pimply adolescent gamer that just won't go away. Well, until now.
Eurogamer MD Rupert Loman has announced that from next year, Eurogamer Expo will be implementing stronger formal rules and regulations restricting exhibitors from showering their stands in scantily clad women.
Although the Expo has had relatively informal guidelines on the matter in the past, encouraging exhibitors to focus on the games and to bring developer representatives, and people knowledgeable about the games, along to the show, this was rather flaunted by a couple of sponsors at this year's show.
“Of course, exhibitors need to bring staff to the show, but they should be interesting, cool and exciting (Master Chief was /amazing/!) and knowledgeable (developers and publisher staff) rather than pretty girls in revealing outfits just for the sake of it" said Loman, on the EG forums. "We want the show to be friendly, and all 50,000 attendees to feel comfortable.”
“At this year’s show three companies showed up with booth babes. Two in particular we thought were dressed inappropriately. As a short term measure we told them to move into the 18+ zone, and we asked some of them to put on leggings as well.
"Although it was only a small number of booth babes, our regret is that we didn’t go further on the first day and just say “this isn’t right” and ask them to change their clothes - or not attend. Instead, with the huge pressures of putting on such a large show and everything that comes with it, we let it go. And that’s what has prompted this debate – and we’re sorry it happened."
"For future shows we will be issuing formal guidelines: Booth babes are Not OK."
Having chatted to a few members of the public at EGX about the Virgin Gaming representatives swanning about in orange briefs, with QR codes stuck to their bottoms, we're fairly certain that this will be broadly well-received. As Loman noted, it's a show that's designed to be all about the games. We asked thirty or so people what their favourite thing about the show was, and you know not one of them came back saying that the scantily clad women made their day.
“Every gaming show has gone through this process – but hopefully we will prove that we are different by following through with this promise and next year the only thing people will be talking about will be the games.”