'The Old E3 Is Making a Comeback': E3 Loosens Attendance Restrictions for 2009

By Chris Faylor, Oct 20, 2008 5:06pm PDT Amidst widespread criticism, E3 2009 will significantly loosen attendance criteria for the invite-only video game trade show and should see "tens of thousands" of attendees, according to game-oriented news network G4.

Correspondent Blair Herter announced the shift on tonight's episode of X-Play, noting that the 2009 show will occur in the usual LA Convention Center location from Tuesday, June 2 though Thursday, June 4.

"The old E3 is making a comeback," Herter proclaimed, promising that more details and information would arrive tomorrow via an announcement from event organizer ESA.

"A broader range of industry guests will be invited. While the event won't technically be open to the pubic with ticket sales, this does mean that more people will have a shot at attending, and yes, I'm talking about you," he promised G4 viewers.

A separate report from respected game journalist N'Gai Croal claims that the show will actually run through Saturday, June 6, and will be open to the public on Friday and Saturday. According to his Newsweek article, attendance will be capped at 40,000.

However, a later update from Croal claims that "our original source's statement that there would be an extra two days specifically set aside for the public--Friday June 5th and Saturday June 6th--may have been incorrect."

Regardless of the outcome, it marks the second major shift for the show in just as many years. After 2006, the yearly event was downsized, going from industry-only to invite-only attendance. It was also retitled to the E3 Media & Business Summit, pushed into July from its usual May timeframe, and relocated to Santa Monica.

Though the show returned to LA Convention Center this past July, the move did little to address criticism that the show had lost its spectacle and become irrelevant.

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  • I've been to like 7 or 8 E3's...things that I remember about them before the big change:

    - The first 2 days were industry only...with industry very loosely defined.

    - Anything important was done in those first 2 days.

    - Most (not all) of those important things weren't really important and didn't really need to happen at E3.

    - The 3rd day was open to the public. Some booths are closed by the 3rd day and some key personalities were usually gone by the 3rd day for a variety of reasons. All in all it was the same show though.

    - Tons of networking happens on the show floor, via yelling, because it's too loud to even hear yourself.

    - The weird stuff you never heard of was in Kentia Hall.

    - The parties that happen at E3 were very exclusive...especially the main Sony Party because they usually had cool musical guests.

    - Booth babes. Yea...that got out of hand.

    - If you're a fan and you wanted to hang out with developers you didn't want to go to E3...all you had to do was go to the local strip clubs at night. Where else can you see Lord British getting a lap dance?

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