E3 is the biggest event of the year for the gaming industry, but it’s always been a trade show closed to the public. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the organization that puts on E3, is starting to change that this year.
ESA’s senior vice president of consumer and industry affairs Rich Taylor told Polygon that the organization gave 4,000 to 5,000 E3 passes to game companies that are ESA members and are exhibiting at the show this year. Taylor didn’t share the exact split, but the number of passes a company got was relative to the size of its booth, meaning that companies that pay more for bigger booths get more passes.
The game companies can then distribute these passes to these customers. Note that having a pass to all days of the show means you’ll be able to wait in line and play whatever demos are on the show floor, but that this doesn’t guarantee appointments behind closed doors (which is where publications like GameSpot see some of the biggest, newest games every year), or a seat at any of the big press conferences held separately by Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, and Bethesda.
“The thinking was to include the prosumers and then evaluate how it went after this year’s show,” Taylor told Polygon, suggesting that the show might be even more open to the public in the future.
E3 2015 kicks off Sunday, June 14 with Bethesda’s first-ever briefing. The show then rolls on Monday with briefings from Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Sony. Things continue Tuesday, when Nintendo and Square Enix hold their own events. For more on E3 2015, check out GameSpot’s complete roundup of the dates and times for all the briefings.