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45,000 expected for E3 this year

LA event to grow attendance by over 10% as international retail and media increase support

This year's E3 Expo is expected to attract around 45,000 visitors, up by 5000 over last year's resurgent event.

That's according to Rich Taylor, the ESA's VP for Communications and Industry Affairs, who told GamesIndustry.biz that international support from the retail and media sectors was also up over 2009.

"For this year, if anything there will be a modest, slight increase in attendee numbers, probably in the region of 45,000 compared to 40,000 last year," he revealed. "We're not tearing the doors off of the Convention Center and waving traffic through the door.

"Right now the important thing is that the show provides value for the exhibitors, and to the high value attendees from the media and analyst community. That's the primary purpose of the E3 Expo.

"International retail attendance is up over past years, with close to 200 buyers coming from 74 countries - and that number's probably going to grow still. International media attendance is up as well, with about 1000 foreign journalists coming to the Expo, which is about a 30 per cent increase, and says a lot about the show and the industry itself."

The E3 Expo had been growing in attendance numbers - and exhibitor costs - steadily, peaking in 2006, the year in which the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii were launched.

But a backlash from the publishers, who complained that the event had become to expensive to attend, led to a severe downsizing in 2007 and 2008.

But last year, with the industry indicating instead that the event needed to grow once more, the ESA relaxed the restrictions on booth size and design - although Taylor wouldn't be drawn on whether or not we'd see the show bulk up to 2006 proportions in future years.

"Every year as the show finishes we go back and talk to all of the key constituencies that participated in the event, and we get feedback," he explained. "That's what helps to design and drive future editions - so it's impossible to forecast beyond this next event, because we'll go through and find out what levels folk want dialled up or down."

The full interview with Rich Taylor is live on GamesIndustry.biz now.

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