E3 is arguably the most important gaming event of the year, but it’s always closed off to the general public. This year, things will be a little different. The Entertainment Software Association has announced that between 4,000 and 5,000 members of the general public will be allowed to attend all three days of E3 through an invite-only process.
Show floor exhibitors will be given passes to give out to customers of their choosing, and the larger the show floor exhibit (and by extension, the bigger the payment to the ESA), the more passes each company will have to hand out. ESA senior vice president of consumer and industry affair explained the decision to Polygon:
“This year, for the first time, there will be prosumers in the halls. Member exhibitors each have an allotment of some passes that they are permitted to distribute to their valued customers.
“There was a desire by a number of exhibitors and board members to connect with people directly. In this age of vast social media, having some of those voices in the hall to report their reaction and enthusiasm is seen as a big plus. The thinking was to expend to include the prosumers and then evaluate how it went after this year’s show.”
— Rich Taylor
Last year saw just shy of 50,000 E3 attendees, so the addition of members of the general public represents around a 10% increase of people on the show floor. The E3 show floor opens on June 16th.