Los Angeles – The rapid evolution of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) took another step with the announcement that the high-profile video game trade show would open its doors to the public.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) said February 7 it would sell 15,000 tickets to the public for the June 14-17 show at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
“Expo Passes go on sale on Monday, February 13 and the first 1,000 will sell at $149 until those sell out and then the balance of 14,000 will be available at $249 until they sell out,” said Madeline Kruzel, Vice President and General Manager of IRL Events who manages the show.
E3 has been on many a gamer enthusiast’s bucket list for years. Last year, the show debuted a co-located public event called E3 Live, which over three days drew an enthusiastic crowd of around 20,000 end-users eager for a look at the latest games headed for living rooms worldwide. More than 70,000 people participated in the week’s events which included over 50,000 fans who watched the proceedings remotely via live streaming and contributed to a torrent of social media postings.
Mary Dolaher, Founder of IRL Events, said consumers were becoming the dominant target for game producers due to changes in the retail end of the industry. “Today traditional retailers are dwindling, and the media environment is changing,” Dolaher told Trade Show Executive’s Danica Tormohlen in January. “Bloggers have more and more influence; with social media, they are the ones who can make or break a game.”
A spokesman for ESA told the website GameSpot, an E3 media partner, that the next logical step was to allow non-trade visitors to have the full run of the show.
Rich Taylor, ESA Senior Vice President of Communications, said: “The feedback we heard was clear–they wanted to play the games inside the convention center. In addition, exhibitors inside the convention center wanted to have access to the fans. So this year we’re bringing the two together.”