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Booth babes banned from E3

Cover up or cough up, says ESA.

What would E3 be without bundles of beautiful ladies parading round the show floor in nothing much at all? Well, we could be finding out come May, since the Entertainment Software Association has announced that exhibitors attending this year's event will face a hefty fine if they attempt to promote their products using scantily clad women.

The news emerged after the IGDA published an excerpt from the E3 handbook on its website which read: "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. ESA, in its sole discretion, will determine whether material is acceptable."

This is nothing new, since for many years the ESA has issued instructions along these lines. However, most exhibitors have simply ignored them in the past - hence the appearance of more and more booth babes with each E3 that passes.

But now the ESA has stated that the rules will be firmly enforced for E3 2006, and that those who ignore them will be penalised. The handbook continues: "The Board has adopted an amendment to the current Character of Exhibit/Attire Policy enforcement. Exhibitors will receive ONE verbal warning when a violation of the policy is encountered. Should another violation occur, the ESA will impose a $5000 penalty, payable immediately on-site and require that models comply with the dress code before returning to the floor."

Show director Mary Dolaher confirmed the amendment to US website Gamecloud, stating: "What's new in 2006 is an update of the enforcement policies, which simply allow show management to better enforce the long-standing dress code.

"E3Expo is first and foremost a business show, and policies such as this one help create an environment not only "where business gets fun", but where business gets done."

"The vast majority of other major tradeshows have the same or similar policies," Dolaher added.

Whether the ESA will enforce the new rules remains to be seen. After all, every year they say they'll refuse to allow entry to anyone under the age of 18, and yet every year the show floor is flooded with spotty herberts who wouldn't know an Amstrad CPC 464 from a fun size Marathon. Guess we'll just have to wait and see...