×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

E3 Evolves to Welcome More Consumers as Well as Video-Game Industry Insiders

E3 is evolving, shifting from a boisterous, over-the-top, elite celebration of all things video games to a less concentrated version of itself, more open to the public — and less worried about insider access.

It’s a shift the $36 billion game industry isn’t just embracing but helped instigate, fueled by a desire to use the show to better connect more directly with its players.

Last year, E3 opened its doors to the public for the first time, and quickly sold out its 15,000 public tickets. This year the show, which runs June 12-14 at the L.A. Convention Center, will again offer 15,000 of its 65,000 tickets to the public, and all are expected to be snapped up.

“Opening up the doors to consumers was a watershed moment,” said Dan Hewitt, vice president of media relations for the Entertainment Software Assn., and the show’s director. “E3 used to be a very retail-oriented, packaged-goods event. Now it’s much broader. You see that reflected in our attendee list, which includes Twitch streamers and YouTube celebrities. And our exhibitor list now includes a huge number of mobile and social titles, augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality games.”

The show is also no longer confined to the Convention Center: E3-related events will take place at a host of venues, from nearby L.A. Live to the Hollywood Palladium. The pivot from exclusively insider to open to the public, Hewitt said, is one driven as much by the industry as it is by the fans of gaming and the media covering it.

“There has been a shift in how news is produced, delivered and consumed,” he said. “If we were running the same trade show we ran 10 years ago, we wouldn’t see the energy and excitement we see today.”

Phil Spencer, executive vice president of gaming for Microsoft, says the evolution of the show has turned the event into a “key moment for fans and major announcements for the year.”

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé noted that fan involvement is what makes E3 special. “The business deals will always get done and the press will always get their news,” Fils-Aimé said, “but it’s most rewarding to see the pure joy on the face of Nintendo fans when they walk into our booth for the first time.”

In broadening the show, E3 has created a stand-alone event at L.A. Live in which Hollywood luminaries share the stage with video-game developers to discuss a variety of topics. This year’s guests include actor-producers Jack Black and Elijah Wood and director Joe Russo.

“E3 is not just a cultural touchstone for video games but still very much where the world looks to see what’s next in terms of entertainment,” Hewitt said. “It’s not just video games but film, TV and music.”

As the show has gone public, so too have big developers, hoping to more directly reach their audiences.

While Microsoft and PlayStation still hold extravagant press conferences in the days leading up to E3, Nintendo relies on live-streaming its announcements through the likes of YouTube and Twitch. The company also is hosting a number of e-sports championships for its games “Splatoon 2” and “Super Smash Bros.” that don’t require E3 tickets to attend.

Microsoft hosts a fan event too, and Electronic Arts no longer shows up to the E3 floor at all, instead hosting an event on the Saturday before the show.

“We’ve taken the approach that we want to celebrate this moment with our players, and it’s important the experience is accessible and free,” Electronic Arts chief studios officer Laura Miele said.

Miele noted that players’ level of engagement has risen, resulting in a deeper connection between game makers and gamers. “Players want to invest more time in games than ever before,” she explained, “and they want to play a larger role in shaping their experiences within games.”

More Gaming

  • A still image from The Seven

    How Magic Leap, Video Games Are Defining Future of Royal Shakespeare Company

    At the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford upon Avon, Sarah Ellis has the difficult job of figuring out where theater of the 1500s fits into the 21st century. As Director of Digital Development, a title which might seem out of place in an industry ruled by live, human performances, Ellis represents a recent seachange on [...]

  • Hideo Kojima Tribeca Games Festival

    Hideo Kojima Discusses Cloud Gaming, Teases One 'Big Thing' For Streaming

    “Death Stranding” creator Hideo Kojima shared his thoughts on cloud gaming in a recent interview with Nikkei Business, noting that he has “one big thing” in mind for the service in the future. Kojima shared his views on 5G connectivity, the need for the industry to adapt to the unique challenges and features it could [...]

  • Raising Kratos Documents the Making of

    'Raising Kratos' Documents the Making of 'God of War'

    An upcoming documentary, “Raising Kratos” looks at the five year long effort that was the making of “God of War,” PlayStation revealed via an announce trailer on its YouTube channel on Saturday. The documentary reveal comes just after the one year anniversary of “God of War”. “Facing an unknown future, Santa Monica Studio took a [...]

  • “Mortal Kombat 11” game review

    Video Game Review: "Mortal Kombat 11"

    “Mortal Kombat 11” is like a slasher film, a bloody mess that evokes emotion in the same ways that the horror genre does—specifically, the more campy horror flicks. Developed by NetherRealm Studios, “Mortal Kombat 11” doesn’t try to scare players with jump scares or psychological horror, but is instead blatant in its unrestrained gore. NetherRealm [...]

  • Arc System Works and WayForward Revive

    Arc System Works and WayForward Revive Classic 'River City' IP

    Notable fighting game developer Arc System Works is teaming up with “Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse” developer WayForward to create a brand-new game based on the classic “River City” intellectual property, they announced on Friday. The new project is called “River City Girls.” While the two studios won’t release full details about the project until [...]

  • Panthers Schedule Promo References a Slew

    Panthers Schedule Promo References a Slew of Video Games

    The Carolina Panthers’ released its 2019 schedule promotion video on Wednesday, which makes callbacks to classic games, like “Pitfall” and “Oregon Trail” among other games, shared via YouTube. The Carolina Panthers are a professional football team in the National Football League (NFL). The team is based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The promo video shows various [...]

  • Gearbox CEO Defends Epic Games Store

    Gearbox CEO Defends Epic Games Store and 'Borderlands 3' Exclusivity

    Earlier this month, developer Gearbox Software revealed the PC version of its anticipated co-op shooter “Borderlands 3” is coming exclusively to the Epic Games Store. This created some blowback from fans who prefer Valve’s digital storefront Steam. Gearbox founder and CEO Randy Pitchford defending the decision in a lengthy Twitter thread on Saturday (helpfully recreated [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content