The gaming industry’s annual expo is headed back to the Los Angeles Convention Center for one more year.
After a rocky few years, E3 is scheduled to return to the convention center June 13-16, 2023. The organizers are hopeful that it can morph from an industry-heavy trade show to a more fan-centric experience.
Dejected gamers might recall that the last three years haven’t had a proper E3 presence in LA – in 2020, the conference was scrapped because of pandemic lockdowns, and the following year it was held virtually. This year, E3’s parent company, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), decided to cancel the convention in favor of taking a step back to regroup and recruit a new organizer, ReedPop.
ReedPop is known for putting on fan-focused events like New York Comic-Con, the global Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) festivals and LucasFilm’s Star Wars Celebration. The new showrunner has a couple of ideas on how to make the gathering more fan-centric.
The main change is a clear divide between the two programming categories. The first two days of the event will be “E3 Business Days”—for industry folks including distributors, licensors, press and game studios.
The third day will then be a mix between industry personnel and average gamers. While the final two days of the show will be only for fans. These “E3 Gamer Days” will close out the show and focus more on content fans want to see: exclusive announcements, releases and “deep-dive looks at highly anticipated titles,” ReedPop stated.
The show got its roots in connecting game makers to publishers and retailers. Which is to say, for decades, E3 was merely a trade show. But as the prevalence of online retail for video games grows, the gaming world is outgrowing the need for trade shows.
Instead of incurring the upfront cost of putting on a physical event that gamers might not even attend, publishers have been more inclined to host their own online showcases (think Sony’s “State of Play” or the Nintendo Direct events) to tell fans about what’s new. The real value of an in-person event now is the potential for a more immersive, unique experience that can get fans excited to plunk down their hard-earned $70 for a new game. Which is exactly what this revamped E3 is attempting to do.
As ArsTechnica put it, “the ESA's version of E3 sold tickets to a fanbase that had come to expect gaming expos to be fun. Typically, that wasn't the case.”
- E3 Expo Will Be held in Person in Los Angeles in 2023 - dot.LA ›
- E3 Going Remote Will Cost LA's Economy Tens of Millions - dot.LA ›