Are trade shows still valuable?

— 7:01 AM on July 22, 2004

In light of this year's Comdex being canceled, a writer at The Adrenaline Vault opines on the status of the trade show. Given the fact that so much information about products and such can be conveyed through the Internet, instant-messaging, e-mail, cellphones, and faxes, how relevant are these trade shows today?

The author identifies a number of trends that have contributed to the decline in attendance and interest in some of these trade shows. As for gaming, videogames are being more and more geared toward the console, and the computer is being showcased as more of a protean multipurpose digital entertainment system. So what do vendors try to do at these shows to try to impress the poor PC gamer? The following bit is pretty funny.

At the same time, vendors of computer technology specifically designed for gaming have engaged in promotions involving differences that are less and less apparent to the average consumer: For instance, the ludicrous battle between nVidia and ATI over who has the latest and greatest graphics card, in part to be played out in the release of id's DOOM III and Valve's Half-Life 2, involves differences in video capabilities that even the most discerning gamers might not be able to spot or utilize for years. Due to these trends, those advances in technology we have witnessed of late are simply not dramatic enough to turn heads and draw massive attention to trade shows.
Anyway, do you feel that these trade shows are still valuable? For his part, the author concludes that the trade show will continue to play a role, but we just need to adjust our expectations of these events.
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