E3 May Soon be Seeing Some Big Changes [Update]

E3 May Soon be Seeing Some Big Changes [Update]

A pitch reportedly suggests pivoting to a "fan, media, and influencer festival."

Update: The ESA has sent USgamer a statement on the proposed changes to E3:

“Every year, we conduct an overall review of E3 to ensure that the event meets the needs of exhibitors. The discussion deck was part of a wide-ranging brainstorm session to explore options and generate ideas for the upcoming E3. We look forward to announcing official E3 2020 plans in the weeks and months ahead.”

The original story follows.


The ESA is looking to change up the way it approaches E3, the annual industry event where publishers and developers announce some of their biggest news for the coming year. A new plan for a show could look to focus on entertainment and "experiences" as much as its traditional industry-oriented approach, aiming to create a "fan, media, and influencer festival."

According to a report from GameDailyBiz, a pitch deck for members of the Entertainment Software Association suggests leaning into celebrity activations and attractions for E3 2020. Part of this includes expanding the number of "gamer badges" sold to the public, bringing the total floor count up to 25,000 and adding an industry-only day on Tuesday, similar to Gamescom.

We reached out to the ESA for comment, but did not hear back by time of publication.

"We're planning to pivot to an event focused on core gamers, online influencers, celebrities, and media with an emphasis on high-flow game pavilions, new programming, and branded, curated experiences centered on a theme," reads one slide of the pitch deck.

ESA membership pushed back on some of these ideas, including a theater experience and paying for celebrities to attend E3. There are a few suggestions on the table still, including a FastPass-style system that would help attendees avoid waiting in line by scheduling a demo time and entertainment for those waiting in long lines, or "queuetainment."

One slide in particular also mentions "paid media partnerships," where the ESA would attempt to establish a partnership to increase the reach of E3 and its exhibitors. It explicitly mentions how this would enable the ESA to "control content and the message," citing CNBC's "Tech Impact" show as a proof-of-concept for a nationally distributed partnership. ESA members had no strong views on this point, as noted in the deck.

E3 has had a rocky time over the last few years, including a leak of many industry members' personal information and an overall dip in attendance. With forums like the Game Awards for announcements, it's not surprising to see the ESA start to look at what a more open show should look like, even if its attendance numbers still pale in comparison to those of behemoths like Gamescom.

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Eric Van Allen

News Editor

Eric is a writer and Texan. He's a former contributor to sites including Compete, Polygon, Waypoint, and the Washington Post. He loves competitive games, live music, and travel.

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