E3 opens its doors to the public with 15,000 tickets


Obviously we at RPS must have made E3 look so glamorous that everyone wants a look-in. I mean, I assume that that’s the reason the Electronic Entertainment Expo [official site] is offering tickets to the general public for this year’s show – all of our tweeting from press conferences and the mention of pancakes the size of pillows at local diners and that story about how I brought a stick coated in tar back as a present for Alice… It’s E3 gold, innit.

E3 has dabbled with public attendees in the past – there was E3 Live in 2016, for example, which gathered some bits of E3 into a separate venue and admitted members of the public, and 2015 had an invite-only element of public attendance – but this feels like a real shift for the usually-trade oriented show as Gamespot are reporting 15,000 tickets will be available and will offer access to the show floor, panels and other bits and bobs. It sounds like full attendance rather than a side event or a curated subset of people.

These tickets go on sale at 12pm ET on February 13 and they’ll set you back “$250 (or $150 as part of an early bird discount available on February 13)” (as per Gamespot).

I went to E3 a couple of years ago for this site and it’s such a weird thing and I really struggle to see it through consumer eyes. It’s a true bubble of games industry stuff and if you’re working you spend so much time stressed out of your mind, rushing between appointments at different ends of the huge halls, desperately transcribing interviews, writing notes and howling at wifi connections. That’s to say nothing of spending hours in traffic as you try to get to the conferences publishers have decided to hold in Hollywood or wherever.

It’s… weird. And you get so exhausted and run down and wrung out by the end of it that it’s hard to imagine attending it for pleasure. Then you realise that if you’re a member of the public who doesn’t live in that bubble maybe you’d actually be strolling in after a leisurely breakfast, playing games and not, say, trying to make cup noodles using only a coffee maker in your hotel room at 4am after writing three preview features and realising you haven’t eaten since noon.

So with that in mind, I’m interested to know whether you’re excited about this change. I mean, do you look at E3 and think “That is a thing I want to be part of”? or are you content to watch the bits you like online and leave the rest until later?

E3 is taking place 13-15 June at the Los Angeles Convention Centre. If you’re thinking of going, I can tell you this for nothing: book a bloody hotel room as soon as you can otherwise you’ll end up a million miles away and spending a fortune to do so. Oh, and the James Irvine Japanese Garden at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center is a really lovely alternative if you’re looking to have a quiet moment in LA instead.

If, however, you’d prefer to spend your time in England instead of LA there’s always Rezzed, which is fun and also a manageable size. You can get a 3 day pass for that for less than £40 AND we’re partnering with it so we’ll be there. I mean, given you’re probably only eyeing up E3 because we made it look cool it’s worth bearing in mind that you can bask in our coolness at Rezzed far more easily. I’ll leave the link here


  1. Lobster9 says:

    They’re cutting out the journalist middle man and selling the advertising direct to the public. Like a power hose of pre-chewed meat slop. Mmmmmm, tastes like market research!

    • Chairman_Meow says:

      mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……market research, with a side of focus groups please!

  2. Derpkovsky says:

    I never knew E3 was just for the press… I always thought you could just buy a ticket an go. Anyway, that is the case now I guess

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      I never knew about this as well, I thought the open area with the booths and stuff were open to the public or that a certain day or so was assigned to us. Of course, I gathered that there would be select previews behind closed doors and other VIP or invite-only stuff, because people love that stuff, it makes them feel chosen and superior to the rest (at least that’s the idea).

  3. Premium User Badge

    Oakreef says:

    Hello CONSUMERS please consume our delicious advertisements.

  4. eqzitara says:

    E3 is probably the worst gaming convention to go to as a fan though its probably a lot of peoples dreams.

    Everything big is revealed concurrently online and you would see more at home. Its mostly just advertising and a lot of it is behind closed doors requiring an appointment.

    If you were a person that worked for IGN/Kotaku you could have a good time and get to see a lot. Not as a member of the public.

    E3 is more an advertising of gaming then a gaming convention.

  5. Dave L. says:

    With the major publishers having pulled out of the show proper last year in favour of doing their own mini-shows offsite and open to the public, this feels like a desperate attempt by the ESA to keep E3 relevant/financially solvent.

  6. MadTinkerer says:

    Well I guess they’re just giving up. E3 is officially dead.

    Until now, E3 has been a Trade Show. As in: NOT A CONVENTION FOR THE PUBLIC. Trade Shows aren’t primarily for the press: they’re primarily for industry workers. Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, EA, Activision, Squaresoft, and others get the big room-sized areas. Other smaller companies get booths. Indies find space wherever they can get it. Students and other people who are technically justified as part of “the industry” don’t have their own spaces but walk around and get to talk to hopefully-future-coworkers and hopefully-future-bosses.

    In what might as well be a parallel dimension on the floor above, the “E3 press conferences” that have nothing to do with what actually happens at E3 get all the attention. All the marketing focus. On the floor actual business is being done, far away from the spectacle. Because on the floor there’s no public to get in the way.

    Now, maybe as a member of the public you’re reading this and thinking I’m dissing you. This is not the case. I love conventions! But trade shows are not conventions!

    Trade shows are supposed to be extensions of what happens in office buildings. Public conventions are supposed to be extensions of what happens in homes. The purpose is completely different.

    Now, I’ve heard it seems completely different for the press, but until I finally hold a press conference of my own, I don’t care. Because as a developer who is not currently employed by the companies giving the big conferences, I’m not even allowed on the same floor as the big press conferences. Instead, I get to actually talk to game industry newbies and veterans without even needing to make an appointment or travel somewhere specifically for that meeting. I got to have lunch with the Torchlight devs before they released Torchlight because we were both at E3 2009. Why would I care about the public or the press when I can sit down and have a conversation or even an informal lunch with a fellow industry professional I just met?

    Public access will ruin this. Public access will turn E3 from a trade show into a convention and I’ll have one less place to go to sit down and talk with fellow professionals without fanboys hanging around. Origins, PAX, Magfest, Gencon, dozens of local conventions every year: I go to those places to geek out and hang out with fellow geeks. If I go to E3 it sure as heck isn’t going to be to hang out with geeks. There are already so many other places to hang out with fellow geeks, and hardly any to hang out with professionals.

    If I go to Origins, of course I want to hear about the exploits of your Dungeons & Dragons characters. If I go to ComicCon I absolutely want to see cosplayers. If I go to Gencon I absolutely want to sit down at a moment’s notice and play a board game for several hours I’ve never played before. If I go to E3, I absolutely do not want any of those things.

    Well I guess I finally need to go to GDC, assuming they don’t ruin that with public access before I get there.

    • Premium User Badge

      Aerothorn says:

      GDC has always had public access (or, at least, it has had it for its entire modern, profit-driven existence). It’s just that at $1000 early bird, $1400 normal, $1700 on-site, the public doesn’t exactly snap them up.

      • Premium User Badge

        Aerothorn says:

        (It is worth stating the obvious, which is that these prices don’t merely keep out ‘the public,’ but also any non-wealthy indie game devs, who can only get a pass if they are hosting a talk or were nominated for IGF or something.)

  7. RichUncleSkeleton says:

    Now they do this? In 2017, when you can watch every single thing of note that happens at E3, live, from any electronic device you own? 15 years ago this would have been a big deal. All I can muster is a disinterested shrug. Even if I lived in LA I wouldn’t want to deal with the traffic and the crowds.

    • dorobo says:

      That’s the spirit! It’s just how it is these days from LA to frozen plains of eastern europe. We have to be really interested to come look at your shit in person when there’s so much alternatives. It’s a hype train with marketing orgy inside and it’s out of steam.