Did the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) really think over opening E3 to the public?

I’m all for opening the doors of E3 to the general public. Everyone deserves to see – and play – what publishers have been beavering away at feverishly in studios all across the globe. They deserve to share that magic. But bringing in 15,000 additional people caused absolute chaos at E3 today.

The doors were due to open at 12pm, but when we got to the Los Angeles Convention Center at 11am, lines were already forming outside the doors into the streets – an unprecedented sight in over a decade of attending E3.

 

Management relented at 11:47am, and like the running of the bulls, the crowds surged through the show floor doors. We followed in this wake and noticed security guards barely checking E3 passes and in light of recent world events, no bags were checked upon entry.

Inside, it was mayhem. Attendees moved at a frustratingly slow pace and halted at choke points around the booths making traversing the floor an arduous ordeal. Queues stretched as far as the eye could see to spend time with favourite franchises.

Our major concerns were security, or lack thereof, and over capacity numbers clogging the West and South halls for most of the day. If you made appointment times, forget it – we’ve never seen the capacious Los Angeles Convention Center look so small.

The nature of video gaming has changed immeasurably over the last five years and it’s important that the community gain the same access to the biggest gaming titles to form their own opinions of games alongside the media.

Perhaps next year more publishers will follow EA and Microsoft’s lead, and hold media events offsite for better access, or maybe open two of the three days to the public and let the media get in and do what they need to do first.

But letting 15,000 extra people into an already busy show seems like an orchestrated exercise in commercialism on behalf of the ESA without considering the potential consequences.