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E3 returning to Convention Center

Confab will remain at its new small size

E3’s going back to its old home but won’t be throwing any more big parties.

Vidgame industry trade group the Entertainment Software Assn. said Tuesday that it will be moving its annual confab back to the Los Angeles Convention Center in July. Last summer, after 12 years at the Convention Center, E3 moved to a group of hotels in Santa Monica.

Move to Santa Monica was part of a major downsizing of E3 from a 60,000-plus-person expo to a “media and business summit” at which fewer than 5,000 attendees attended meetings in hotel suites.

Despite the return to downtown L.A., E3 will remain at its smaller size. It will likely use only a fraction of the Convention Center; in its old form, it occupied the entire complex.

While those who were invited seemed to like the intimate, less stressful nature of the new E3, there were widespread complaints that it was difficult to navigate since the show was spread out among numerous locations in Santa Monica.

“We heard attendees’ concerns last year that they wanted a more centralized location, but they also liked the suite-based personalized nature of the event,” the ESA said in a statement.

Shift is also a coup for the city of Los Angeles, which last summer lost the cash infusion that comes with the E3 show. As ESA recently mulled what to do with the confab, there had been rumors that it would move to a different city, such as Las Vegas.

Next year’s E3 will be held July 15-17.

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