What is Electronic Entertainment Expo?


Known by many as E3, The Electronic Entertainment Expo is an annual trade show for the computer and video games industry presented by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). It is used primarily by video game developers to showcase their upcoming games and game-related hardware. Widely regarded as the biggest expo in the video game industry, E3 is an event that is packed with entertainment and numerous surprises.


Electronic Entertainment Expo


E3 was invitation-only in 2007 and 2008, reducing the number of attendees from 60,000 at E3. A separate conference known as Entertainment for All was created to accommodate the public demand for a huge, annual gaming event; however, it hasn't been able to replicate E3's success.


Video game companies tend to spend more on their presentations for E3 more than any other conventions (including fancy decorations and pyrotechnics). Major video game critics often have a "Best of E3" award session, with categories such Overall Game of the Show, Best Console Game, Best Graphics and a whole slew of other awards. E3 2010 is scheduled to be from June 14 to June 17 at it's original venue, Los Angeles Convention Centre.




Before E3, most game developers went to other trade shows to showcase new products. These shows were known as the Consumer Electronics Show and the European Computer Trade Show. The first E3 was conceived by IDG's Infotainment World and co-founded 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 with news on upcoming releases for the PlayStation, Virtual Boy and Neo-Geo CD. Specifications for the Nintendo Ultra 64 (later renamed Nintendo 64) were released, but no hardware was shown at that time.



Virtual Boy


Neo-Geo CD


IDSA originally asked CES for a private meeting space for video game developers, but was told that they could not limit the access to only invited registrants. Patrick Ferrell, CEO of IDG's Infotainment World had sent his VP Marketing to the meeting, and after much deliberation, the management team at Infotainment World announced that E3 would take place. Needing to insure the support of the industry, Ferrell then negotiated a partnership between IDG and the IDSA, who then co-produced the show for a number of years.


The event ran from May 11 though May 13, 1995 in Los Angeles. Keynote speakers included Sega of America Inc. president and CEO Thomas Kalinske; Sony Publishing Company president Olaf Olafsson; and Nintendo chairman Howard Lincoln. The first show was one of the largest show launches in history, with over 1.2 million feet of show space and over 80,000 people in attendance.




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


E3 Show Floor


When held in Los Angeles, the show was exhibited over five halls: Kentia, South Hall, Concourse Hall and the West Hall. Booth space was purchase 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 being noisy and busy, sound levels are not what they once were; in recent years (2005,2006), publishers such as Electronic Arts 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 nearby 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. In 2004, Activision brought Stan Lee and Tony Hawk to promote X-Men Legends and Tony Hawk's Underground 2 respectively while Vivendi Universal Games brought 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.




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 Consourse Hall generally featured four booths and a few media outlets as well as the Into the Pixel game art exhibition that 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


E3 South Hall


The largest ship of the LACC and the largest 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


Kentia Hall

Petree Hall

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 booth 'planetside'. As a result, the look of the RMN Kentia at E3 was similar to that of a bazaar.


West Hall


West Hall


The RMN "West Hall" was used by the biggest publishers from Asia. Nintendo and Sony's booth are normally located here. The RMN "West Hall" was also normally temporarily home to private message rooms. The rooms were used by TV studios, or large gaming media outlets such as GameSpot, 1UP.com, GameSpy and IGN.


Media Coverage


Many websites and blogs have a history of providing entensive 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 GameSpot, IGN, ScrewAttack, Kotaku, 1UP.com, GamesRadar, GameTrailers, VGChartz and Giant Bomb.


Microsoft E3


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 media journalists, the event eventually came to include general and specialist TV crews, newspaper journalists, website journalists and "fansite" journalists. Many of those in attendance came with consumer-level digital video and photograph cameras.


On behalf of the organizers, Future Publishing now publishers 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.


Traditionally, many of the media outlets give out Best of E3 awards in various categories. Common categories include Best of Show, Best Trailer, Best Original Game, Best PS3 Game, Best XBox 360 Game, Best Action Game, Best Hardware, etc. Of the awards, the most prestigious is the Best of Show of the Game Critics Awards.


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.


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 Idianapolis 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.


Gen Con So Cal


In 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


Blizzard E3 Booth


According to GameInformer, video game companies Activision and Vivendi Games have broken away from ESA. 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. However Activision continues to attend and showcase its games at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2009 and Electronic Entertainment Expo 2010 while the other half of the company Blizzard Entertainment no longer attends the show and, instead, hosts its own event called Blizzcon.


Final Note


As E3 draws closer with each passing moment, what are some of the games and announcements that you are looking forward to? Natal to really reinvigorate motion gaming, the 3DS to have Wii-like graphics or it could even be a release date for the much anticipated Final Fantasy XIII Versus. Whatever happens at this year's E3, it's pretty much guaranteed that there will surprises and amazing tech demos aplenty.

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  • Excellent blog. I've learned more about E3 then I knew so far. And, I'm not really looking forward to any new game unless there's anything from the Tomb Raider series.

    Posted Jun 10, 2010

  • Great blog David, it was a long read, but well worth the time. :) Thank you for taking the time to provide this, very nice work. :)

    Posted Jun 11, 2010

  • I didn't know you were affected by Fetus virus too but the blog eventually was good. Enjoyed it.

    @FetusZero : What did you do to my brother David :P

    Posted Jun 11, 2010

  • Excellent peice David, thoroughly enjoyed it. :)

    Posted Jun 11, 2010

  • Great infor blog. I liked the picture especially the Natal one.

    Posted Jun 11, 2010

  • @Sleven: Nothing o_o muahaha the virus is spreading nicely..

    Great blog, E3 definitely became to be the one event we all await, and this for a reason. Unfortunately I don't know if I'll be able to follow the live conferences through internet this year as I am overflowed with overtime during the same week :/

    Posted Jun 12, 2010

  • Ah, E3. It's always that time of year that we gamers get together for the greatest event of our lives. Hehe, sounds like an overstatement, but whatever. I can't wait to see what publishers have up their sleeve. Can't wait for new surprises, ups and downs, etc. etc.

    Awesome blog, David. Now we wait for Monday! :D

    Posted Jun 12, 2010

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