I'm not even supposed to be here.
Early ticket sales for public access to this year’s E3 go on sale February 13th. Only 15,000 tickets will be available with a regular ticket price is $250, and an early ticket will be around $150. This gives you access to the same E3 floor that only game’s press had access to for decades. In addition the ESA, who help put E3 together, are partnering with Geoff Keighley to give public attendees access to his program that usually runs during E3. In addition there will be business passes that will give those attendees preferred entry and a business lounge.
The ESA are pitching the change as an attempt to listen to fans. After last year’s separate, and lackluster, public event the ESA listened to the complaints about not getting to play the same games on display inside the convention center. They talk about how E3 has evolved and how they are trying to keep the show relevant to everyone.
For many, getting inside E3 was a dream. To see all the games before anyone else is pretty amazing. However, conventions like PAX have filled that void, while adding their own layer of panels, indie games, tabletop games, and other entertainment that makes a convention a bit more fun to attend.
As a member of the press, E3 is a busy whirlwind of a trip with little time to even eat while you’re jumping from appointment to appointment. The games that are available to be played on the show floor typically have a huge line, and even the ones that don’t are usually already released games or titles releasing in the coming weeks. Tossing another 15,000 attendees into the mix will only make lines longer and coverage harder to produce. It’ll force publishers and developers to put more games behind closed doors, force press to make more appointments, and divide E3 into a public vs press mentality.
E3 should be open to the public, but on the right days. If you want to throw open your doors, have press only days like TGS and Gamescom. Don’t punish the press, the publishers, and developers just to give a handful of public what they blindly want.