E3 2017 will be open to 15,000 fans

Show organizers have yielded to pressure to make the expo a partially public event

By James Brightman.Published Wednesday 8th February 2017, 3:26pm GMT

Last year, the ESA gave away 20,000 tickets to E3 Live, a small event held outside next door to the Los Angeles Convention Center. It would seem that experiment has transitioned into full public access to E3 for the first time ever - something that many in the industry have been clamoring for. As reported by GameSpot, the ESA will be selling 15,000 tickets to the public, starting this coming Monday (February 13) at 12PM Eastern time. Tickets will sell for $250 but will be available at an early bird rate of $150 on February 13.

Tickets will offer fans access to the show floor, panel discussions, and more during E3's three days, June 13-15. Additionally, the ESA is partnering with games journalist Geoff Keighley to "provide attendees with access to special benefits associated with Keighley's own E3 programming, such as developer interviews and more," according to GameSpot. More details are expected in the coming weeks.

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"The feedback we heard was clear--they wanted to play the games inside the convention center. In addition, exhibitors inside the convention center wanted to have access to the fans. So this year we're bringing the two together," ESA's senior VP of communications Rich Taylor said, referring to the reaction they got to E3 Live in 2016.

"It's a changing industry, and E3 has always evolved to meet industry needs and anticipate where we're heading together--as an event, as an industry, and as fans. The decision to open our doors to 15,000 fans was a strategic decision. It is thanks to our members and their vision and leadership that made this possible. We have a model that allows the business of the industry to continue for our business and media attendees and provides an opportunity for video games' biggest fans to experience the latest in innovative, immersive entertainment."

Taylor added that E3 will continue to evolve. E3 2018 isn't guaranteed to be open to the public, but this year's show will be an interesting test. "I think asking, 'How can we improve?' 'Where are video games headed?' 'How do we connect with fans?' are all healthy questions, and that helps ensure E3 stays current and meets exhibitors' needs," he said.

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Recognizing that E3 started out as a business-focused show where retail buyers could meet with publishers and make decisions, the ESA plans to sell business passes in addition to regular passes. Business pass attendees will gain preferred entry to the convention center, access to a business lounge and more. This should be helpful to analysts, executives, attorneys and advertisers who come to the show.

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