Public E3 Passes Sold Out; Let the Stampede Begin

15,000 members of the public will make the show even more hectic and chaotic that it was previously.

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The move by the Entertainment Software Association to open E3 up to the public apparently has been a success. All of the public passes are now sold out. Let the wailing an gnashing of teeth begin.

The official E3 Twitter account announced the news. "Start your countdowns! Fan passes are now sold out. Attending for work? Business passes avail at ". So if you are still looking to get in, that business pass only cost $995.

E3 has suffered recently with the defection of a few publishers to their own events. EA now has EA Play and no presence at the show, focusing instead on fans. E3 attempted something similar last year with E3 Live, which drew 20,000 fans for free, but held at LA Live and not the convention center proper. The ESA's attempt to keep E3 relevant was to announce back in February that 15,000 passes would be available for the public to attend. The event had previously been devoted to press and members of the games industry, although plenty of fans found their way in through various methods. The first 1,000 tickets for a three-day pass were $149. The remaining 14,000 were $249. E3 runs June 13-17 this year.

Attendance numbers have stagnated of late, hovering between 40,000-50,000 since 2009. The peak was 2005 when more than 70,000 attended. E3 attempted to cut those numbers in 2007 and 2008 with the redubbed E3 Media and Business Summit. Attendance plummeted the first year to around 10,000 with the event spread out to various venues in Santa Monica instead of the traditional LA Convention Center. Complaints brought the summit back to LA in 2008 to an even bigger dropoff in attendance to 5,000. By 2009, the ESA had seen the error of its ways and reverted back to the old format, being rewarded with 41,000 attendees.

As Greg pointed out when it was announced, the danger of a partially public E3 showing is that it will be a compromise for everyone involved. The public won't get all the access the media does, which may lead to disappointment; meanwhile the increased crowd size could make it harder for media and business attendees to do their jobs. Even with the sudden surge, though, it's unlikely to hit 2005 numbers.

If you are attending, keep in mind Shacknews will have its own booth and broadcast live from West Hall. We'd be happy to meet some Shackers.

Contributing Editor

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