The yearly Electronic Entertainment Expo show is known for cutting edge game announcements and outlandish costumes, but in recent years companies have been using scantily clad models to lure attendees to their booths. Now the Entertainment Software Association, the organization that runs the event, says that these "booth-babes" will be banned. Companies will be given on warning and then face an immediate $5,000 fine for further violations.
In a handbook given to exhibitors, ESA says that "sexually explicit and/or sexually provocative" models will be prohibited from the show floor. For the industry that has brought us Lara Croft of Tomb Raider fame to the blond-haired "Ghost" girl from Blizzard's Starcraft Ghost, it may be difficult to judge what is acceptable or not.
We don't know what prompted the change in rules, but last year PlanetWide Games pushed the envelope by having several scantily-clad models pose at their booth. Kevin Donovan, President of PlanetWide Games, told TG Daily that models made sense for the demographic. "Our online role-playing game R.Y.L. was meant to be edgy and the models appealed to the demographic," says Donovan.
Donovan will have a booth at the upcoming show and while he is still selling R.Y.L., his company is focused on pushing Comic Book Creator - a program that lets users turn game screenshots into a comic book. Donovan wasn't unaware of any changes banning booth-babes and told us that he won't have models anyways. "This year we have other great products and want to stay focused," says Donovan.