ESA on the future of E3

Alex Calvin
ESA on the future of E3

Every year when we sit down with E3 organisers the ESA, we generally end up chatting about the same topics.

‘What can we expect from the show?', ‘What's different this year?', ‘How much space is being dedicated to mobile/VR/AR/the next big thing?'.

But this year, there's actually quite a lot of new things to talk about. Just days before we spoke with ESA SVP of PR and communications Rich Taylor, the firm announced E3 Live.

This is a free consumer show being held in the LA Live venue; right next door to the main show in the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Every year the question of whether we are going to let consumers into E3 comes up,” Taylor says. E3 has always had a critical balance. It's meant to be a show for the exhibitors to reach retailers, analysts and members of the media. We don't want a hall so overcrowded that those things can't happen. We've always been very careful to make sure we hit the right balance of attendance within the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Within the past year and this year a number of prosumers – enthusiastic consumers – will be allowed into the hall. That's just a comparatively small amount compared to a ‘consumer show'. The leaders of the industry said we should provide a forum perhaps outside of the Convention Center that allows enthusiastic consumers to be in and around the latest activity. They wanted to give them a place where they can engage and interact with some of these new titles, and beloved games as well. That results in E3 Live.”

The announcement of E3 Live follows EA revealing that it would not be at the show. Rather than booking space on the show floor, the FIFA publisher has instead opted to hold its own event, EA Play (more about that in our interview with EA's Patrick Sderlund).

At a time when publishers can simply hold their own event, open to everyone – trade, media and consumer alike – why should companies have a presence at the main E3 event?

It's the single most important event in interactive entertainment, not just North America, but around the globe,” Taylor insists.

No other show attracts so many industry decision makers. There's no other point in time when people's attention is focused on this industry like it is during this one week in June. And it's not just traditional games press, it's mainstream press, it's social media across the board. E3 generates tens of billions of impressions. That's unique. That's one of the surprising ‘tide lifts all ships' kind of situation where if you have a compelling, game, technology or innovation, this is the time to put it out there because people are looking to hear what's coming next.

We've done a great job of providing a platform for those who expect to do just that. If you're an exhibitor, you want to come back to the next one because there is a great return on investment.”

Taylor also says that Bethesda's E3 showing in 2015 is proof of the trade show's power.

There was a lot of anticipation for Bethesda's event. People were wondering what the big reveal was,” he says. There were rumours about Fallout 4, which were proven to be true. Then they released the Fallout Shelter mobile game, which was remarkable. It was available then and there. That thing went from not being known about to being downloaded millions of times and being top of the download charts instantly.

That's the power of E3. You can make an announcement from a stage in LA and have that resonate so quickly around the world where people are going straight to their device and grabbing it.”

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