E3 Goes into Wide Release This Year

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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E3 Goes into Wide Release This Year

E3 was always something of a gamed system, according to reports, especially given the growing proliferation of independently-operated games media stations. Now, however, E3 is changing the way it's operating, and for the first time ever, officially opening up the show floor to incoming members of the public.

Those concerned about massive new crowds need not be; the operation is running essentially on a lottery system run on a first-come-first-serve basis. Starting February 13 at high noon Eastern time, E3's parent organization, the Entertainment Software Association, will sell 15,000 "consumer passes". The first 1,000 will sell for $149, while the remaining 14,000 will sell for $249.

Businesses concerned that this will cheapen the value of their current passes need not be; the business and press pass holders will have a specific entrance point just for them, a "VIP Business Lounge", and several other perks.

E3 has been working on incorporating more of the gaming public into its events; last year, it offered the "E3 Live" event, which ran a separate smaller conference alongside the main event. Even in 2015, some elements of the public could get in, thanks to the "prosumer" passes that gave certain fans access directly from the show's exhibitors.

This comes at a time when E3 is actually becoming a lot less popular than it once was. With more companies looking to stage their own events, and become their own point in the news cycles rather than just part of a massive news cycle of "every company showing at E3."

However, this may not be the way to solve things; one of the biggest complaints I've seen about E3 is that the show floor is packed to the gills, and being able to actually do anything at the show has proven difficult in the past. Making that worse by bringing in 25,000 new gamers could be compounding the problem. However, it also may draw exhibitors back to the show; being seen by that many people, who will in turn talk to their social media networks, is a great way to get the name out in huge fashion.

With a growing number of gaming shows in general, E3 is not the event it once was. These new moves may help give E3 some new life, but it may be too little, too late in the end.

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