The Board of Directors of the Electronic Software Association has officially proposed and is discussing the possibility of opening the show to the public, effectively reversing a 2006 decision to scale down the show and only open to the press, according to a rumor on Kotaku.
The show technically has always been an invite-only affair, but prior to 2006 the show was an extravagant frenzy of publicity and parties from companies all around the gaming industry. When the atmosphere was calmed into a more networking-friendly convention, the quality of games shown--and gamer enthusiasm--has steadily declined, leading Spore designer Will Wright to call E3 2008 "the walking dead."
Meanwhile, public enthusiasm for a convention has proven a valuable tool for organizers. Last weekend's Penny Arcade Expo, a fan favorite, drew over 58,000 attendees and announced an expansion in the business. The Games Convention, also open to the public, is also on the move.