E3 is Open to the Public for the First Time This Year

E3 attendees no longer have to be tied to the gaming industry to access the expo.


E3 is selling 15,000 tickets to the public this year. Until 2017, E3 was an industry exclusive event where game journalists, developers, and publishers gathered every June to connect and discuss upcoming video game hardware and software. However, the Entertainment Software Association, the organizer of the E3 event, has decided that the general public should be admitted and tickets will be available for anyone to purchase starting Monday, February 13.

The E3 general admission tickets available to the public will cost $250 with an early bird discount available to purchasers on February 13 that lowers the price to $150. These tickets will allow access to panel discussions, the show floor, and other to-be-determined events from Tuesday, June 13 through Thursday, June 15. Geoff Keighley is partnering with the ESA to provide public attendees with exclusive perks such as interviews with developers.

E3's relevance has been called into question in the last few years. With the ability to disseminate information quickly and efficiently over the internet, and flagging support from companies like Activision and EA, some say E3 is a holdover from a time when there was no choice but to gather in a central location to get info about the latest in video gaming.

A tentative list of E3 2017 exhibitors is available on the E3 Insider website, and again this year big names like EA and Activision are absent. The ESA states that the list of exhibitors isn't final, but I wouldn't be surprised if the final list contained fewer names than last years.

Whether or not E3 2018 will be open to the public isn't decided yet. However, the ESA more than likely hopes that the opportunity to directly interact with the public will convince exhibitors to continue contributing to the expo, so E3 might be open to all comers from now on.

E3 2017 is scheduled to take places June 13-15 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. You (yes, you) can purchase tickets for E3 starting February 13.

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
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    February 8, 2017 7:45 AM

    Jason Faulkner posted a new article, E3 is Open to the Public for the First Time This Year

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      February 8, 2017 7:51 AM

      Hey that's awesome. I've always wanted to go to E3, if I lived near L.A. I would definitely be there.

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      February 8, 2017 8:01 AM

      I wonder how the publishers will react to this. The expo floor was already too crowded, and the lines were ridiculously long. I bet it will be less small room experiences (the lines) and more large screen displays with more of the really cool stuff behind closed doors.

      But, I totally get that E3 has to change with so many competing shows now; PAX being the main one I guess.

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        February 8, 2017 8:30 AM

        Odd, everyone I read last year was commenting on how empty it was compared to how it used to be.

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          February 8, 2017 8:34 AM

          Yeah I think some of the giant bomb guys even did video of it because it was so empty

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          February 8, 2017 8:45 AM

          That may be. I didn't follow what was going on down on the floor much last year. Like I said, I know PAX has been stealing a lot of thunder, and publishers were getting upset at how expensive E3 had become. Some even started doing their own thing on the side.

          I'm kinda to the point now where I'm fine with just watching streams. Ya, actually playing is kinda cool, but it is usually such a limited experience. I know attendance dropped the year after booth babes got banned.

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          February 8, 2017 9:58 AM

          No reason to really go anymore, you can watch all the good shit streaming at home.

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          February 8, 2017 12:16 PM

          It was never empty. it's insane every year. Now it's going to be much worse.

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            February 8, 2017 12:38 PM

            Exactly. I think this is a bad decision their part. I don't think most people realize that E3 is a trade show, designed for the press, developers, and publishers to be able to interact and make deals/show off products.
            Opening it up to the public means there is no longer a venue where this is possible on such a scale.

            It was bad enough when anyone with a blog could get press credentials, which in my experience meant seeing guys doing nothing there but getting photos of themselves groping booth babes and getting as much schwag as possible, so it is just going to be 100x worse now.

            If people want to play unreleased games, go to PAX or one of the many similar expos. They may have to wait a bit longer to get their hands on an upcoming title, but they still get to play it. All this does is take away an important way for the creative side of the industry to connect with the business side.

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      February 8, 2017 8:33 AM

      Wasn't it open to the public the one year it was in Atlanta?

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        February 8, 2017 8:37 AM

        Yeah I remember a bunch of friends going to the one in Atlanta

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        February 8, 2017 8:50 AM

        I think there was a "public-accessible area" but not the whole show.

        I wonder if this will just drive some industry and journalists away though.

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          February 8, 2017 10:02 AM

          They've been getting driven away for years though. I suspect plenty of behind closed door interviews will continue to happen though.

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        February 8, 2017 11:33 AM

        it was in Atlanta for two years. i went both and don't remember it being publicly accessible. (had to get a media badge for both)

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          February 8, 2017 5:55 PM

          We sent them running back to Cali where the prices are reasonable o_0 (seriously, the jacking up of all the prices downtown for E3 was a reason I remember being given).

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        February 8, 2017 9:09 PM

        No, that was the Electronic Entertainment Expo...

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      February 8, 2017 9:05 AM

      This is awesome - I went for like 10yrs straight back in the late 90's/early 2000's and it was always a good time. Been wanting to go again but can't get credentials anymore.

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        February 8, 2017 11:29 AM

        It's also not a cheap trip by any stretch.

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      February 8, 2017 11:30 AM

      Oh God. It was bad enough already, I can't imagine how much worse it's going to be when anybody can get in.

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        February 8, 2017 11:33 AM

        Also, I'm surprised that they are opening up the panel discussions to everyone. I went to those my first couple of trips there, but the only way I was able to get in to see them is because I had press credentials. Once I was actually working in the industry it started costing a lot of money if I wanted to go see any of the panels.

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          February 8, 2017 1:31 PM

          how are the panels usually? ive been to a few E3s but never to a panel. i did see a special screening of a teaser for DX:MD though, that was pretty cool

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            February 8, 2017 8:51 PM

            Pretty good, depending on the topic. It's fascinating hearing the views of people behind the games that we all enjoy.

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      February 8, 2017 11:53 AM


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        February 8, 2017 12:22 PM

        Well, The "Media Elite" have E3 as the only "Press Only" Convention. The Public has GDC, PAX South, PAX EAST, PAX WEST, Comic-Con, Wondercon, Blizzcon. So, E3 was really the only event the public wasn't allowed into. I've been to Both E3 and PAX, and E3 is loads better in terms of crowds.

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        February 8, 2017 1:17 PM

        Wut? I don't follow you.

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        February 8, 2017 2:19 PM

        Its not just for media, its also for retailers, buyers, and distributors.

        I'm sure it'll be annoying since the crowds were already brutal, but I suppose this is a chance to pivot the event more towards fans from than the professional event that it was.

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        February 8, 2017 2:28 PM

        Unless the format of the show changes, I feel really sorry for people that pay money to go expecting some sort of PAX celebration of games.

        It's a trade show.

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      February 8, 2017 12:25 PM

      I don't care if E3 isn't what it used to be, I'm going this year. I'm really excited!

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        February 8, 2017 2:55 PM

        The Line to Play Zelda BOTW last year at E3 was 6 hours long. That was without Public access. Now Double that.

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          February 8, 2017 6:53 PM

          It'll still be six hours. The time is capped by the line cutoff

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          February 8, 2017 8:53 PM

          The year that they first showed off the Wii U the line was 8 hours long literally two or three minutes after they opened the doors to the South Hall.

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          February 8, 2017 10:08 PM

          Uhhhh. Zelda will have been out for 2 months by then so not sure this is accurate.

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          February 9, 2017 12:26 AM

          Lol no game is worth waiting six hours. I have no idea how anyone could force themselves to go through that.

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      February 8, 2017 2:22 PM

      It seems like a Hail Mary play to keep E3 alive. I've been going since 1999 and it was shocking how much empty floor space there was last year. The live dog & pony shows feel like a relic from the past and E3 is becoming irrelevant, so it makes sense that catering more towards fans makes sense since they're the ones who would actually go to a live event.

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        February 8, 2017 2:51 PM

        Also, they tried something like this with "E For All" ten years ago. It really sucked.

        Maybe this will be something in between since (as far as I know) there won't be a separate event for press and retailers. We'll see

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        February 8, 2017 8:55 PM

        I still miss Kentia Hall. That was my favorite part of the show the first few years I went. They always had the most bizarre and entertaining things out of the entire expo.

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          February 8, 2017 9:10 PM

          Kentia Hall was the best, the desperate seedy underbelly of E3

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            February 8, 2017 9:16 PM

            I remember trying some crazy Japanese ballroom dancing simulator game there and it was amazing for how utterly ridiculous it was.

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      February 8, 2017 2:24 PM

      Will the booth babe make a return?

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        February 8, 2017 8:57 PM

        I hope not. That was the worst part about going to E3, it always just felt kind of sleazy and gross. And, from what I've been told by a friend who worked at one of the booths and what I've seen, there are some seriously creepy gross dudes there who are basically sexually assaulting them.

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      February 8, 2017 6:57 PM

      Strongly considering buying an early bird ticket and making the trip out to LA with a friend. I would focus more on indie stuff so hopefully the lines won't be as long :(

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