E3 is changing. For the first time, the show will be fully open to 15,000 fans willing to pay the entry fee. Starting on Monday, February 13, the tickets will be available for $250 (or $150 as an ‘early bird’ discount). The tickets will provide access to the show floor, panel discussions, and other events taking place Tuesday through Thursday of that week.
The ESA, the organization that puts on E3 each year, will be partnering with Geoff Keighley of the Game Awards and other games media events, to provide access to Keighley’s own E3-related programming.
Fans have been sneaking into E3 for years and calls to make the show public have grown to a fever pitch in the last few. Last year saw the introduction of an E3 Live event that brought games to the fans outside the Los Angeles Convention Center where the show actually takes place.
“The feedback [from that event] was clear,” said Rich Taylor, the ESA’s VP of communications, speaking to GameSpot. “They wanted to play the games inside the convention center. In addition, exhibitors inside the convention center wanted access to the fans. So this year we’re bringing the two together.”
Taylor said that E3 as a show has evolved and changed as the industry has, and that the decision to open the show to fans was a strategic one.
It’s a value proposition
For the last few years, the stories about which publishers were pulling out of E3 were almost as big as which games were announced. EA has their own event. Activision doesn’t even bother – they just show their stuff during Sony’s press event. Blizzard has BlizzCon, and Valve just does whatever they please. Ubisoft still participates because the company just loves video games too much not to. The floor is still jam-packed with smaller booths for the other third-party publishers, but it’s clear that big publishers don’t see value in it anymore.
Letting thousands of fans in is valuable in the literal sense of the money it brings in and in the extra excitement around people getting tickets, getting into the show, and creating hype that way.
As someone who has attended E3 for a while now, E3 2017 is shaping up to be a very different show from years past.
E3 2017 goes from Tuesday, June 13, to Thursday, June 15, this summer.