Hundreds of industry gaming fans are in shock over the announcement that this years E3 will be empty of swarms of sexy, semi-clad "booth babes" following the announcement that the organisers have banned them for fear of degrading the industry.

According to Reuters, the handbook for this year's show in May outlines tough new penalties, including a $5,000 fine on the spot for the booth owner if the "booth babe" is semi-clad.

"What's new in 2006 is an update and clarification of the enforcement policies; as we do from time to time, we have taken steps to ensure that exhibitors are familiar with the policy and how it will be enforced", Mary Dolaher, E3Expo show director, said in an email to the news agency.

The handbook from the Entertainment Software Association, the show's promoter, says: "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".

Using so called “booth babes” the rules prohibiting the use of scantily clad young women to peddle video games are nothing new, but the games and consumer electronics companies have preyed on the weak minds of the male dominated industry for years enticing them to the stand with women rather than technology.

Here at Pocket-lint, we suspect it won't be too long before the same rules move to other areas and shows such as the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas and CeBIT in Germany.

Farewell “booth babe”! RIP.