There was once a time when the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) was the most important video game trade in existence. The nearly week-long event offered a look at the hottest upcoming games, capitalizing on the excitement and energy of the industry’s fans. Its significance waned in recent years as digital showcases and one-off events became more frequent, particularly during the pandemic. But in partnership with New York Comic Con organizers Reedpop, the Entertainment Software Association is bringing E3 back as an in-person event in 2023 — but one recently announced major change to the convention’s overall format feels like a strong indication that E3 is about to embark on a huge comeback.
A new direction
E3 2023 will take place in the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 13 to June 16, 2023. The show is organized by ReedPop, the same company in charge of PAX and New York Comic Con.
However, for the first time ever, the convention offers separate Business Days for media professionals from June 13 to June 15, with exclusive access to certain halls around the show floor. This is a huge step in the right direction, as it’ll hopefully make the event less crowded by spreading the attendance out over multiple days.
To industry workers and fans alike, attending E3 is a monumental occasion. It’s a chance to meet your favorite developers, pursue job opportunities, play early versions of upcoming games, and catch up with (or meet new) friends.
In 2017, E3 opened its doors to the public for the first time after being restricted to only industry workers for over 20 years. While this was an excellent opportunity for fans to attend the legendary event, it severely impacted the flow and made it much less desirable to all.
During recent years, it was difficult to work the show as a member of the media because there were simply too many people in attendance. This would often result in being late to demos or missing appointments entirely. In 2017, over 15,000 fans attended E3, inflating the total attendance to over 68,000 people.
On top of that, having so many in attendance at once made it easier to get sick, which is especially relevant during the pandemic. The new setup doesn’t completely eliminate the chance of getting sick, but it certainly makes things safer.
Now, with the dedicated Business Days, the media experience will hopefully be smoother, resulting in better game coverage, which in turn, benefits the readers/viewers, developers, and press.
More organized for all attendees
As a fan, E3 often felt disappointing because the massive attendance made it difficult to actually spend much time trying demos. In one day, you’ll likely spend several hours waiting in line just to play a handful of games for short periods, which simply isn’t worth it, especially given the expensive $250 entry fee (not including airfare and lodging).
Part of E3’s magic is getting to try new games that aren’t out yet, but when the show is so crowded, it quickly loses its appeal.
Sure, the media might stick around for the Consumer Days in 2023, but many will likely opt to skip it, making it less crowded for the general public. This rings true, especially since the media will have dedicated halls and booths separate from the general show floor, allowing consumers to spend more time playing and less time waiting.
It’s unclear if E3 will ever feel the way it once did, but the show’s new direction is certainly a step towards becoming relevant once more. It will be interesting to see how E3 2023 unfolds alongside other events like Summer Game Fest, which focus more on the digital components, but many of us are optimistic about the future.
E3 returns from June 13 to June 16, 2023.