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Two Trade Shows Ready Themselves To Go Head-to-Head

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IS there room for two interactive entertainment trade shows to take place on the same dates on opposite sides of the country?

The burgeoning industry will find out next May 11-13, when the E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) goes up against the powerful EIA (Electronic Industries Association). E3, produced jointly by Infotainment World and Knowledge Industry Publications Inc., will hold its show in Los Angeles; EIA, producer of the Consumer Electronics Shows, will be in Philadelphia.

In the skirmish for legitimacy, E3 is claiming a victory: It has received the endorsement of the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA). ``It had to be a tough decision, but we are more entrepreneurial and aggressive,'' says Patrick Ferrell, president of Infotainment World, a publisher in San Mateo, Calif.

Money had something to do with it as well. E3 offered the association, which is best known for establishing ratings for video games, money for the endorsement. ``Both of us offered financial incentives,'' Mr. Ferrell reports.

Ferrell says Philadelphia is too small a venue for the show; he says he expects to attract 30,000 to 40,000 attendees and 300 to 400 exhibitors. The Philadelphia convention center is brand new, however, and Mayor Edward Rendell has become a good salesman for the city.

Jonathan Thompson, a spokesman for the EIA, declined to talk on the record about the decision, except to say, ``We wish IDSA and E3 well.''


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