Opening E3 to the public is the WORST idea the ESEA has ever had.
Hi, To start off how about a little background, last year was my first ever E3, but ever since I was a kid in 1999 and I first heard about the magic show that was replacing winter CES that was just for video games, I have dreamed of getting there. Last year that dream was finally validated, I worked over a year on a site building it from the ground up, and we were invited by the ESEA, to come to and experience what I can only call the best event I have ever been to. We also attended both PAX East and PAX West, and I personally have attended PAX East since 2014 making this year my 3rd year. The difference between PAX and E3 has always been that E3 is about industry, and PAX is about fans.
No before you kill me for being all, I earned this fuck the public, I have some very good reasons. First of all, E3 being closed and only sending invites means that no one is trying to SELL you anything. Theses days PAX is half vendor booths hawking headsets, or other products. E3 has none of that. The buyers that are there buy for huge chains, not one person. As a result the show is focused on games, not open play areas or selling things to people. The lack of pushy sales displays, and booths for hardware and RGB headsets means there is more room for games, both big and small.
PAX has always been about panels to the general public, where as E3 has a more closed door feel. Most of the major game publisher don’t hesitate to offer booze, or food at their booths at E3, because everyone there can be trusted, everyone there is invited, and vetted. This will no longer happen. Again opening the show to the public forces the publishers that are there to play by a different set of rules. Gone will be any sort of direct interaction with the people behind the studios, the developers, and the folks who actually make the game. Instead we will get the same kind of treatment that PAX has. A few big name games will show up, and the rest will just skip the show.
Lines, lines, lines. Never onece at E3 did I wait in a line. E3 isisnt about lines, its about making appointments, and working (at least for the press). I hardly had any time to walk the floor last year because I was CONSTANTLY working. Even with all of that work, I wasn’t invited to the MS or Sony booths. Even with the access that press had last year, there were still lines for major publishers games. Both the PSVR experiences were basically invite only, and those who waited on line were essentially told to “get bent” and don’t even get my started on how hard it was to get in to Nintendo’s booth which was showing breath of the wild. Why should the public be grated this same access. They already have three PAX events where they can do the same thing
Shift from gamest to panels. E3 to my knowledge has never hosted any ‘industry pannels’ Intead they have simply allowed industry people and the journos and buyers who come to mix and meet organically. I still tell the story of how I casually sat down at a bar table with Randy Pitchford and started talking last year. Because of the lack of public access the industry vets like Pitchford feel no need to host panels, instead they just walk the floor and enjoy the time out. Forget that ever happening, Randy has got to be one of the most reviled members of the industry between battleborn and Aliens Colonial Marines, I would be surprised if some fan didn’t hit him over the head at any public event.
Finally we arrive at what I consider to the largest of the problems. Opening this event to 15,000 members of the general public for 250$ a ticket will indeed generate a lot of revenue, but it will also mean a fundamental change in how E3 has to work. Instead of this being an event about showing the press and other industry people how great your games are, and then reveling in our collective selves. E3 has remained one of the few events in the year where everyone involved is somehow industry. Weather that person is a streamer, an engineer, an artist, or a journalist. This sense of inclusion will disappear.
I understand that the ESEA needs to make money, and that the number of issued passes will vastly increase that potential money making, but honestly, admitting the public and not keeping the event industry only makes this just another PAX, and takes all the reasons that press attend and eliminates them. I fear for the future of E3 if they want to do this, because I can guarantee you ESEA, if this is anything like E3 live last year (which they also admitted the public too) its going to be a disaster.