E3 booth babes to return this year

The breast show in town.

The Entertainment Software Association has told Eurogamer that exhibitors are allowed to use booth babes to grab visitor attention at the E3 Expo this summer.

"Models are allowed," ESA spokesperson Dan Hewitt told us, "but having them is a choice exhibitors make for themselves."

The ESA decided to strictly enforce existing dress-codes and effectively outlaw booth babes back in 2006. Exhibitors disobeying would be given only one warning and then be fined USD 5000 on the spot. Any offending models would be re-clothed immediately to adhere to the rules.

"Material, including live models, conduct that is sexually explicit and/or sexually provocative, including but not limited to nudity, partial nudity and bathing suit bottoms, are prohibited on the Show floor, all common areas, and at any access points to the Show," read those rules. "ESA, in its sole discretion, will determine whether material is acceptable."

"E3 Expo is first and foremost a business show," show director Mary Dolaher explained at the time, "and policies such as this one help create an environment not only 'where business gets fun', but where business gets done."

A year later, E3 - the world's most prominent game show - was dramatically downsized to stop publishers spending fortunes elaborately advertising their wares and changing the focus of the event.

But this year, after much criticism, E3 comes back big, and the ESA reckons around 40,000 trade-only visitors will show up.

With publishers now used to running tangent sole-focus events, however, as well as the German GamesCOM event due to launch with plenty of fireworks and the Tokyo Games Show becoming ever more prominent, the damage may have been done.

Still, some tits ought to make everything much more digestible.

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