Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

E3 Goes Public

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is going to allow in the public -- well, up to 15,000 of them, if they are willing to drop $150 (which rises to $250 later). It's an attempt to stem the show's continuing decline in importance and attendance. However, it seems like an awkward stance -- either you are a professional-only show, or you're a consumer show. If there are 15K fans swarming the show floor, doesn't that make it harder for the pros to do business?

There will be a "business pass" to try and ease some of the crunch for the pros, I guess. Which probably means a separate entrance, or maybe some extended hours. Still, it seems likely this move may result in less professional attendance. Will companies be more or less likely to buy booth space if there will be 15K consumers there? I don't know, but it will be interesting to see.

This may also lead to changes in booth design, as you have to figure on big lines and big crowds for the most popular games.

It will be interesting to see how fast the tickets sell -- will they sell out quickly, or sell out at all? Will some publishers return because of this, or will more drop out of the show? Will this move attract new publishers, perhaps mobile ones?

I think we'll just have to wait and see. At least E3 is trying something and not just sitting around, waiting for its relevance to completely dry up. I give them credit for taking action, and I hope it helps the show stick around just because of its historical significance.

It's interesting to contrast E3 with the Game Developers Conference (GDC), which has continued to grow from year to year. I think GDC has continued to remain relevant because it has embraced changes in the industry over time. When social games became big, GDC included them in the conference sessions. Similarly with mobile games, and now VR. On the other hand, E3 stayed away from new trends in the game business because of its historical focus on retail, which continues to shrink in importance. (That also kept E3 from dealing with social and mobile games, because those are entirely digital distribution and have no retail presence).

It will be interesting to see what Nintendo plans for E3 this year, as well as Sony and Microsoft. Will this announcement change any of their plans?

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