Although last year’s attendance was a record high, there’s no denying that the popularity of E3 has been waning over the last several years. When you combine the fact that Sony did not host a press conference at the event last year with the constant leaks of planned announcements and the disastrous breach of the personal information of journalists, there’s no denying that E3 is not what it once was.
According to a new article published in GameDaily.biz, E3 organisers the Entertainment Software Association are planning to overhaul next year’s E3 as a “fan, media, and influencer festival” as opposed to a typical gaming convention. Proposed changes to the event laid out in the article include more celebrity attendees, having the Los Angeles Lakers playing a basketball video game in front of an audience, and “appointment only activations” for select guests planning to attend. One of the most positive new additions laid out in the article was that guests will now have timed appointments for when they get to play demos on the show floor, instead of having to wait in line for hours.
One aspect of this proposed new E3 format which has already drawn criticism is that the ESA, which is a known lobbyist group, is also pushing for paid media partnerships. These partnerships could lead to them having control over the message and content of the event. The ESA previously funded episodes of the show Tech Impact, although the episodes failed to disclose this. The transparency of funding for partnerships at E3 remains to be seen, but this is certainly an aspect of the event worth keeping a close eye on.
The annual Gamescom event in Germany was cited as an example of how the ESA would like to view next year’s E3, with more focus on direct interaction with fans rather than being a typical convention. There was even talk of the press only being allowed to have one day at the event to cover news, with the remaining days being just for members of the public.
The ESA is hoping these changes will attract an extra 10,000 guests to E3 2020, and if they do indeed manage to draw in these numbers, we can probably expect E3 to remain a more fan-focused event in the years to come. It’s unclear how exactly the gaming community will react to these changes, but we’re hoping that E3 will uphold its reputation at gaming’s biggest trade-show.