E3 closed its doors until next year, featuring record levels of attendance from the industry’s leading figures, exhibitors, media, and analysts. For the first time, though, E3 decided to try something new and introduced the addition of 15,000 fans who purchased passes to attend the once-closed off expo. In a move that boasted well over 68,000 people, was it a move that was worth it for the industry?
Let’s look at things from a fan perspective. The expo pass costs $250, and grants access to the show floors that gamers considered Christmas in June. There are games, games everywhere, as far as the eye can see. These games are usually housed in giant exhibits that are in themselves their own theme park. There are tons of sounds, noises, and people meandering throughout the expo halls, which mainly take place in the South and West Halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
As a fan, is this experience worth it? $250 isn’t an awful price at all to pay in order to see what’s coming up next, but an issue is that the lines are atrociously long to wait through, often requiring sitting through an entire day only to play one or two demos that last a very short amount of time. That, in addition to the great atmosphere and city life of downtown LA, are great for first-timers and those from out of town.
On the other hand, there’s members of the industry. The members of the industry who use the show to conduct business, the investors, the members of the media who use the expo as an opportunity to reunite and get their next year’s worth of work in this crowded week. The week, usually filled to the brim with appointments, conferences, and networking parties, is already difficult enough, but the additional 15,000 heads were really felt this year. In the first day of the expo, lines were bloated and the exhibitors didn’t quite know how to handle the influx of bodies. Walking aisles were filled with excited fans, and the lines going into the convention started early in the morning and went well on past outside towards the parking lots.
The problem, being part of the industry, is that press needs to be able to get work done. It’s harder to do that work when there’s so much extra body mass to consider. There’s nothing wrong being a fan, but the show needs to find a way to allow the industry to do its work without having to worry, because media and attendees were often put together in the same queues unless a private appointment was arranged. For the ESA next year, they definitely would want to consider allowing for an industry-specific day or two that allows access to the games and allow the fans to come in for their own expo days, because industry attendees were commenting heavily about the influx of visitors hampering their ability to get the job done.
It’s great that fans are getting access to the show, but it needs to be better controlled otherwise it becomes very similar to those fan expos and events like PAX or Gamescom in Germany. E3’s always going to be the place where I remember making the best of friends and have the grandest of times, but it’s going to be a little bit of a different outlook with the extra work and time needed to prepare for the show. Here’s to next year, and thanks to our Gamer Professionals readers for tuning into our content on a daily basis!