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Electronic Entertainment Expo
Status Active
Genre Multi-genre
Venue Varies
Location Varies
Country United States
First held 1995
Organizer Entertainment Software Association
Filing status Non-profit
Attendance 40,000+ (industry registration only) 1995-2006, 2009-present
3,000-5,000 (invite only) 2007-2008
Official Website

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, commonly known as E3, is an annual trade show for the computer and video games industry presented by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). It is used by many video game developers to show off their upcoming games and game-related hardware.

E3 was invitation-only in 2007 and 2008, reducing the number of attendees from 60,000 at E3 2006. A separate conference called the Entertainment for All Expo was created to accommodate the public demand for a major, annual video game event; however, it has not been able to replicate E3's success.

E3 was previously held in the third week of May of each year at the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) in Los Angeles. In 2007, the convention was exceptionally held from July 11 to July 13 in Santa Monica, California. In 2009, the convention started June 1 and ended June 4 in Los Angeles. The ESA stated that the event reached a record attendance of 70,000 people in 2005. In 2009 the attendance reached 41,000, an increase of 820% on the previous year's E3's attendance.

E3 is widely regarded as the world's largest regular convention for video games. Video game companies generally spend more on their presentations for E3 than any other convention (including fancy decorations and pyrotechnics). Major video game critics often have a "best of E3" award session (similar to end-of-year award sessions), but only E3 consistently features such awards (for example, there is rarely a "Best of TGS" award session).

E3 2010 will remain at the LACC and is scheduled to be from June 15 to June 17.



Prior to E3, most game developers went to other trade shows to display new products, including the Consumer Electronics Show and the European Computer Trade Show.

The first E3 was put on by the Interactive Digital Software Association (now the Entertainment Software Association). It coincided with the start of a new generation of consoles, with the release of the Sega Saturn, and the announcements of upcoming releases of the PlayStation, Virtual Boy and Neo-Geo CD. Specifications for the Nintendo Ultra 64 (later renamed Nintendo 64) were released, but there was no hardware shown.

IDSA originally asked CES for a private meeting space for game developers, but was told that they could not limit access to only invited registrants, so they moved out and started E3.

The event ran from May 11 through May 13, 1995 in Los Angeles, California. Keynote speakers included Sega of America, Inc. president and CEO Thomas Kalinske; Sony Electronic Publishing Company president Olaf Olafsson; and Nintendo chairman Howard Lincoln.


The 2007 show was housed in suites and meeting rooms in numerous hotels in the Santa Monica area, within walking distance of each other. The Barker Hangar was used for showcasing software.


Show floor

Konami booth 2005

When held in Los Angeles, the show was exhibited over five halls: Kentia, Petree, South Hall, Concourse Hall, and the West Hall. Booth space was purchased ahead of time by publishers. Some publishers, in turn, spent millions of dollars creating elaborate displays and structures to accommodate the promotion of their bigger titles.

While E3 was noted as being noisy and busy, sound levels are not what they once were; in recent years (2005, 2006), publishers like EA have kept their sound down compared to years directly before. At one point, sound levels would fluctuate as exhibitors raised the volume to compete with near by stands. Shouting was common at some stands. Meanwhile, in 2006, when attendance was down to 10,000, according to the organizers, it was a planned move as industry accreditation was stringently checked.

Different booths would also invite celebrities over for signings for their specific games. For 2004, Activision brought in Stan Lee and Tony Hawk to promote X-Men Legends and Tony Hawk's Underground 2 respectively while Vivendi Universal Games brought in Vin Diesel to promote his new game The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, a prequel to the summer 2004 film. Celebrities were generally only available for a few hours, so line-waiting was a general practice at E3.

Concourse Hall and lobbies

Rockstar’s invite-only enclosure at E3 2005

The external apparatus that connects the bigger halls is the Concourse Hall and subsequently, the West Hall and South Hall lobbies. The lobbies were used for registration, picking up badges and badge holders, and other general information. Bag stands and the daily magazine were available in the lobbies. The lobbies were also the signature glass structures of the LACC and were massive structures.

The Concourse Hall generally featured four booths and a few media outlets as well as the Into the Pixel game art exhibition started at E3 2004. The Concourse Hall was generally used as a link between both lobbies and featured a window display with a beautiful view of downtown Los Angeles.

South Hall

The largest ship of the LACC and the largest exhibition space by default. Microsoft and many of the largest Western developers from North America and Europe generally found their homes here.

Kentia and Petree Halls

The second smallest and smallest ship respectively. The RMN Petree was the indefinite home to Atari and Midway's massive booths. The RMN Kentia was generally used by smaller developers who could not afford the hefty fees of having a booth 'planetside'. As a result, the look of the RMN Kentia at E3 was similar to that of a bazaar.

West Hall

The RMN "West Hall" was used by the biggest publishers from Asia. Nintendo and Sony's booths are normally located here. The RMN "West Hall" was also normally temporarily home to private press rooms, and sometimes TV studios, of large gaming media outlets such as IGN,, GameSpy, and GameSpot.

Online scheduling system

In addition to the physical event, E3 supports or is otherwise associated with a number of online sites. One site introduced in 2006 was "E365". Archived from the original on 2007-10-13.  , an online community which attendees use to pre-network and schedule meetings with one another.

Media coverage

Many websites and blogs have a history of providing extensive coverage of E3 with live webcasts, game previews, game media and blog entries covering popular press events. Some of the more popular sites include, but are not limited to IGN, GameSpot,ScrewAttack, Kotaku,, GamesRadar, GameTrailers and Giant Bomb.

On site, the event is covered by professional journalists from around the world. Proof of credentials are verified before the event or on-site. Originally E3 was almost entirely dominated by print games journalists, the event eventually came to include general and specialist TV crews, newspaper journalists, website journalists, and ‘fansite’ journalists. Many of these attendees came with consumer-level digital video and photograph cameras.

The E3 press room

On behalf of the organizers, Future Publishing now publishes the free official daily magazine, named in 2006 as ‘The 2006 Official Show Daily’. Previously published by Ziff Davis under "SHOWDAILY", the magazine provides news, and maps of the show floor.

G4 has aired live coverage of E3 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 covering three hours a day over 4 days in the week of the event.

An episode of The Showbiz Show featured Andrew Daly getting live coverage from E3.

2007 restructure

On July 31, 2006, the ESA announced that the expo would be downsized and restructured due to the overwhelming demand from the exhibitors.[1] On October 13, 2006 the new format of the show was detailed. Although E3 was originally envisioned as an expo open only to game industry professionals, it has grown in recent years to include greater numbers of bloggers and attendees who were not perceived to be industry professionals.[2] Many of these persons were excluded from the revised event, as the ESA announced that the new E3 would be by invitation only.[3][4]

It was originally speculated that because of these changes, independent developers may have been excluded, and subsequently damaged, in preference for larger game companies. But the ESA ultimately provided invitations for independent developers with "The Indie Games Showcase" booth. This was made possible through industry supporters, IndieCade and the International Game Developers Association.[5]

The move was widely criticized by those both within and outside the gaming industry,[6] notably by SimCity and Spore creator, Will Wright;

"It almost feels like a zombie at this point; it's the walking dead. It's such an abrupt end to what was E3, which had been this huge escalating arms race....Right now we're in this kind of dicey, do we have an event, what event is it, which one do we go to? I think we're in an uncomfortable transition zone when really the real E3 died a couple of years ago." [7]

Claimed successor

On August 8, 2006, Gen Con announced that it would be expanding its gaming exhibits to include video games. The company also stated that it would increase venue space at its Indianapolis convention and relocate its Anaheim convention to the Los Angeles Convention Center. However, on January 26, 2007, Gen Con announced that it would be canceling its Anaheim show, Gen Con So Cal. The company cited a lack of growth in attendance and an increase in competing shows.

On January 5, 2007, IDG announced that the ESA had endorsed a consumer-oriented successor to E3 called Entertainment for All or E for All (which replaces the GamePro Expo name). The expo took place from October 18 through October 20, 2007 at the Los Angeles Convention Center to allow participating companies to sell their holiday releases to the attendees. The expo charged an entrance fee of USD $50 to $110, but attendance was no longer limited to video game developers, retailers, and media.

Company breakaways

According to Game Informer, video game companies Activision and Vivendi Games have broken away from ESA.[8][9] In an interview with Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, when asked why the company left the ESA, he stated that they "have [their] own issues that are not the industry's issues" and that they need their own executive to deal with the government instead of the ESA.[10]

2009 Public reopening and expansion

E3 2009 is the 15th Electronic Entertainment Expo held. E3 2009 was scheduled for June 2-4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. E3 2009 was greatly expanded in terms of size from previous years, it has been reopened to all qualified computer and gaming audience. E3 2009's revival has been widely well received by game makers who have been rather disappointed by E3 2007 and 2008.[11]

Electronic Entertainment Expo 2010

E3 2010 will be the 16th Electronic Entertainment Expo held. It will be held June 15 to 17, 2010 at the Los Angeles Convention Center like previous years.[11]

See also



External links


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