E3 2005: Most embarrassing thing ever

So far E3 has been good; a fair number of meetings, the press conferences, etc.
But here’s the worst thing ever. The Xbox360 press conference was kind of done “in the round”, that is, the presenter stood on a circular platform with the audience all around. The audience behind the presenters was on the stage, and at first they looked normal. But the press conference started about 40 minutes late, so we on the main floor had a lot of time to look at these people. They seemed like they could be developers or bloggers or something… they were all 20’ish, in jeans and T-shirts and whatnot. But, they were all fairly attractive – or at least the women were – as was noticed by the people behind me.
The next thing we noticed was that none of them wore the little circular pins we all had been given when we came in. Hmmm. Weird.
But the last hint came when a shapely woman came forward with the Xbox360 in a pack and put it on the stage. Suddenly this audience erupted into applause. They were hired guns! At every cue they went crazy, clapping and cheering and pumping their arms, nodding their heads, etc. Microsoft had brought its own supporters along with them, just in case they got a chilly reception at the press conference!
That’s just horrible. I felt sorry for them – what did they think they were doing? I could only think that perhaps they brought these people along to provide a pretty backdrop for the camera shots. Ooo, look at all the pretty, hip people! They all want Xbox360! Look how excited they are! It was like an infomercial.
It was completely embarrassing, and the real audience caught on quickly. I think MS would have gotten a much better reception had they not tried to stack the deck at their conference. As one friend said, “It’s like a Bush press conference!”