The Entertainment Software Association announced that the public will be able to attend this year’s E3 Expo--for the first time ever--by buying a ticket. Purchasers will be able to attend all of the events on all three days of E3 and not just stop by a brief showcase designed for the public. Think you might want to grab a ticket or two? Sales start on Monday, February 13th with an initial price of $150, which is discounted from the $250 face value. There will be 15,000 tickets available, and they will be sold starting at 12 PM Eastern Time on the E3 website.
There will also be an additional tier of tickets sold: “business passes.” The price of this upgrade wasn’t provided, but will grant the ticket holder preferred convention center entry, access to a business lounge, and “other things.” Apparently, these passes are for attendees looking to do business at the show, but who don’t fall into the traditional categories of media, retailer, or exhibitor.
Letting John Q. Gamer into the show could be in response to the popularity of public access available for several other game shows. Tokyo Game Show allows general audiences to attend on certain days, as does Europe's Gamescom. The various PAX shows have always been designed for fans of video games and not for retailers or media directly. The announcement from the ESA states that this change is simply a better way for game companies to connect with their most avid fans, and is not a way to fight off perceived irrelevancy. ESA’s senior VP of communications, Rich Taylor, emphasized that E3 continues to be a cornerstone of the industry, one that generates billions of “media impressions around the globe.”
Quick TakeSeveral big names pulled out of last year’s convention and more and more companies are holding independent press events both in-person and online. Despite the ESA's assurances that E3 is still relevant, the sale of public tickets looks like a definitive move to pivot the convention in a different direction and keep exhibitors interested.
Think you’ll try and snag one of these pricey tickets? Let us know in the comments if you are going to hit up E3!