It’s no question that E3’s presence has been waning in importance in recent years. After all, large publishers have been dropping out of the show left and right, and Sony was even absent at E3 2019. That’s why the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is considering overhauling E3 to make it more of a consumer event, with a focus on celebrities and influencers, and giving it more of a festival-like feel. A series of slides demonstrated the ESA’s pitch for what it might do with E3 going forward.
Originally, E3 started as a trade show with the goal of showing retailers the newest games for the upcoming holiday season. As time went on, the show became less about that, and it has shifted to focus more on consumers. In 2017, the ESA allowed anyone to attend the show. And, after the ESA unintentionally leaked over 2000 media professionals’ information earlier in August of 2019, some may have concerns about attending in the future.
So what kind of changes does the ESA have in mind? Well, the company wants to invite celebrities like members of the Los Angeles Lakers to attract more of an audience. The same goes for influencers. The entire pitch leans into the notion of getting as many attendees as possible, generating lots of buzz and potentially high profits.
With the proposed changes comes an entirely new possible layout for the show floor. Traditionally, E3 is made up of two massive halls, with booths littered throughout and smaller areas that feature demo stations and activities. Based on the pitch, the floor plan could evolve, with less of a focus on booths and demo stations. Instead, a number of “experiences” that might involve the celebrities and influencers attending the show could take their place.
The ESA has already approved an additional 10,000 gamer badge attendees, bringing the general public attendance to 25,000. Even with 15,000 members of the public, walking around the convention center is a challenge, so it’s tough to imagine an additional 10,000. Again, more attendees means more money, because the consumer tickets to E3 aren’t cheap. In 2019, the first 1000 gamer passes sold for $149.00. After the initial 1000, ticket prices jumped to $249.00. That’s a lot of dough.
We’ll have to wait and see if this pitch is approved for next year’s E3 show. The dates have already been confirmed for June 9, 2020 – June 11, 2020. It’ll be interesting to see how E3 continues to evolve as publishers find new ways to reach fans. After the decline in popularity with industry professionals, it’s clear the ESA needs to do something. But will shifting the focus to consumers be the change the event needs? Time will tell.
What do you think of the proposed E3 changes? Is there anything you’d like to see? Let us know!