So some buzz has been going around the past few days about this year's E3. For the first time ever, E3 is going to be selling a select number of tickets to the general public. This is great for fans who will have a chance for the first time to attend all the big announcements and press conferences. They will also have access to workshops and other talks, which is pretty awesome. That's one of the biggest things that goes on at E3. They will also be able to walk the floor and play all the demos and other fun things to be had at E3. There will be 15,000 public tickets offered. The first 1,000 tickets will go for $149/each, after that people are going to have to fork out $249 for a ticket.
For fans this is awesome. But is this a sign of the health of the E3 and a last ditch effort to try and save the convention?
Attendance has always been an issue for E3. Somewhat fittingly, there have been 3 different versions of the Electronics Entertainment Expo. The original 1995 event was huge and 50,000 industry and media people walk through the doors. It eventually hit a ceiling of around 70,000 attendees (in both 1998 and 2005). Then for some reason they decided to streamline and refocus the Expo.
The rebranded "E3 Media and Business Summit" launched with a maxed out (based on the new format) 10,000 attendees. Exhibitors wanted a smaller crowd and a more focused Expo. It switched to an "Invitation Only" format, in a theoretical attempt to curtail people who weren't involved in the industry from attending. The next year saw attendance drop to 5,000 people. This lead the Expo to return to its original format again.
The re-launched E3 had 41,000 people attend, and number grew steadily year to year until it finally broke 50,000 attendees in 2015 for the first time in nearly a decade.
So let's look at the last 3 years and see how this injection of the public might help/effect numbers?
- 2014 - 48,900 Attendees
- 2015 - 52,200 Attendees
- 2016 - 50,300 Attendees
So *IF* the same number of business and media personnel attend E3 in 2017, and we get an influx of "civilians" attendance numbers could hit as high as 65,000 or more. A level that hasn't been seen at E3 since 2005.
But is this a good thing? Are there signs other than attendance numbers we should be looking at to see how things are really going at E3?
Last year, Electronic Arts made waves by saying they weren't going to be at E3. Instead they were literally going to set up shop across the street and open it up to the public for FREE to come check out their stuff.
A couple months later, Activision announced they also wouldn't be having a booth on the E3 floor, opting instead to show off Call of Duty at the event via their friends at the Sony Playstation booth.
Then Disney and Wargamming (the people who make World of Tanks) both pulled out of having a booth on the E3 Floor.
As this editorial from Wired points out: "One can be dismissed as a fluke, and two as a coincidence, but three is a trend and four is a hemorrhage."
Time will tell how this will all effect this year's E3. It will be interesting to see if/how fast the public tickets sell. It will be interesting to see how the industry and business attendees react to the public inclusion. It will be interesting to see if the major players in the industry continue to forego the event. After all, EA Play has already been scheduled again for 2017, so don't expect to see them on the floor of E3 again this year...
It's a long time until June, so there's still plenty of time for things to take shape.
If you're interested in going, you can sign up to get more information about ticket sales over here at the E3 Website.
What do you think about the future of E3? Would you like to go one day?
**CHOP'S LCS MATCHUP OF THE WEEK**
This week I'm going to recommend a weird matchup. Sunday two teams are going to come head to head that have a weird history. Last year, a number of the founding players from Cloud9 stepped down from the main roster to build a Challenger (minor league) team. That team won Challenger, beat an LCS team in the Promotion Tournament and won a spot on the LCS stage. Thing is, Riot Games has a rule where you can't own more than one LCS team, so Cloud9 was forced to sell their challenger team.
Enter one of the owners of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team. Looking to get into the eSports business, he purchased "Cloud9 Challenger" for a whopping $2 million. Included in that price was the contracts of all the major players from the team. And just like that, one of the fan favorites Hai Lam was no longer a member of Cloud9 (this is a big deal because basically without Hai, Cloud9 has always struggled on the big stage). With him went An "Balls" Lee, and Daerek "Lemonnation" Hart, two other founding members of Cloud9. And eventually their team would settle on the name "FlyQuest."
So going into this week, Cloud9 sits alone on top of the standing in first place with a perfect record of 6-0. FlyQuest (mostly thanks to Hai's strategic shot calling) is sitting tied in second place with Team SoloMid at 5-1. This is the first time Hai, Balls, and Lemonnation have played against their former team, and it's a battle for the top spot in the league. So it should be pretty exciting! Seriously, watch this teaser trailer from Riot Games.