E3 is to open its doors to the public for the first time in its 22-year history, event organisers the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced today. 15,000 tickets will be available for the event, with tickets going on sale on Monday February 13th.
Tickets will be priced at $250, but those who get in quickly enough will be able to purchase tickets for $150 as part of an early bird scheme on February 13th. Tickets will give consumers access to the show floor, panel discussions as well as other events taking place throughout the show.
The ESA has also said it will be partnering with The Game Awards host Geoff Keighley to give attendees special benefits to Keighley's own E3 events programme. Full details of this partnership will be announced soon.
In a statement provided to GameSpot, the ESA's senior VP of communications Rich Taylor said there was "incredible attendee enthusiasm" for last year's free E3 Live event, which was also open to the public, so this year the ESA finally decided to make the whole show open to consumers.
"The feedback we heard was clear - they wanted to play the games inside the convention centre. In addition, exhibitors inside the convention centre wanted to have access to the fans. So this year we're bringing the two together," Taylor said.
"It's a changing industry, and E3 has always evolved to meet industry needs and anticipate where we're heading together--as an event, as an industry, and as fans. The decision to open our doors to 15,000 fans was a strategic decision. It is thanks to our members and their vision and leadership that made this possible. We have a model that allows the business of the industry to continue for our business and media attendees and provides an opportunity for video games' biggest fans to experience the latest in innovative, immersive entertainment."
He added: "E3 has a reputation around the world as the place where video game hardware and software launches happen. Last year, E3 generated more than 65 billion media impressions around the globe. That doesn't happen accidentally, and it's a testament to E3's strength, its connection to the fans, and the event's position in the industry."
EA 2017 takes place between June 13th and June 15th this year at the Los Angeles Convention Centre, and currently has more than 200 exhibitors lined up to attend.