Should E3 Be Open to the Public?


If you consider yourself an avid gamer then chances are you’ve heard of a little yearly press event called E3. Many gaming enthusiasts would love to gain entry to the event, but since its inception in 1995 it’s only been accessible to the press. During E3’s early years, it was a little easier to get into, but regardless of whether you lied about your profession or were lucky enough to acquire a press pass in some other capacity, it’s never truly been a public event. There are other gaming trade shows that are open to the public, such as Gamescom, so why can’t E3 follow suit?

E3 2I can understand Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo wanting to keep their press conference attendance press-only (the clue is in the name, press  conference). If you allow highly opinionated fans into professional conferences like those then disruptions and even heckling are bound to happen. But surely there’s no harm in allowing the public onto the show floor to explore the developer booths and get hands-on with a game they’ve been dying to play.

With practically everybody in this day and age having internet access in the palm of their hand, the wealth of information that E3 brings is going to reach the gaming masses just as fast as it’s announced anyhow. So why not allow them entry to experience the news and games they want to firsthand? Sure, you could set up your own website, post a few news pieces and reviews and be considered a games journalist, gaining access to the event that way. But it’s a barrier that I feel shouldn’t exist and something that not everyone has the savvy to do.

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With a plethora of games confined to its halls, there may be a game someone is really passionate about that big gaming publications overlook or just don’t get chance to report on. Allowing the average gamer into the event would negate this issue, allowing them to get the information they want.

E3 1Of course the attendance is already pretty high. Last year 48,000 people attended E3. If they start letting people in left, right, and center things are going to get cramped up quickly. A way around this would be to simply charge a reasonable entry fee to the average gamer. Of course, paying won’t discourage some people, so moving to a bigger venue could also be beneficial. These are problems that are easy enough to address. Last year’s E3 attendance is fairly small compared to Comic Con’s, which has had an attendance upwards of 130,000 people in recent years.

I believe opening E3 up to the public is the next logical step forward; whether it will happen or not is an entirely different matter. What are your thoughts on the matter? If E3 was open to the public would you attend?