Every year, so many thousands of gamers wait around their computer or television waiting to see what is going on at E3 and every year goes by while you not actually there. E3 is literally the biggest gaming event/convention held annually but only a privileged few are allowed to go. The people that attend are press/media/investors/exhibitors/publishers/developers/PR Agencies while there are those few special people that know the right person to get it. This year they gave away a trip to E3 2013 and we actually got to meet them. Attendees are “officially” limited to journalist and people within the industry, however the gaming industry reaches very far today compared to when it first started.
The point is that everyone just gets glimpses of what it’s like at E3 along with all the news and announcements that come with it. Most people do not get to experience it. Most people probably have never even been to the Los Angeles Convention Center, or maybe not even California for that matter, or maybe not even the United States being that this is such a huge event worldwide. Every year I see and meet people from all around the world. It is because of E3 that I have regions unlocked on my Nintendo 3DS Street Pass which do not even have maps. It is truly the largest gaming event of the year and all the press conferences are held the day before usually. Some years it is as if they are just throwing free stuff at you, while others years are different. Usually when you play/preview something you get something for free to help promote the game. This year Disney was giving people white hooded sweatshirts where you got to pick your favorite Disney Character to have printed on the back right on the spot, while there are other things like getting in game next to Sam Fisher (Splinter Cell – In Part 1). There is no doubt though that I have an entire wardrobe just from attending E3 over the years.
So just a little background on E3, is well the most obvious point which is that it is called E3 because its official name is the Electronic Entertainment Expo… 3 words, 3 “E”s …you get it okay, moving on. The first E3 was held in LA, CA in 1996 showcasing the Sega Saturn, the upcoming releases of the PlayStation, Virtual Boy, Neo-Geo CD along with the release of the specifications for the Nintendo 64 (which was then called Nintendo Ultra 64 before its release). It has been held in LA at the Convention Center almost every year since then by the ESA (Entertainment Software Association. One year it was in Santa Monica, CA during 2007 and Japan even tried to replicate a convention as big as E3 but failed, which just shows you, not just how many gamers, game related business are in the US but everyone from around the world makes the haul over to LA every year. Well not “everyone”, as E3 is actually for the most part the ONLY gaming convention where the general public it not aloud in. That said I hope you enjoys our 2 part series bringing you behind the scenes as we go from meeting to meeting, and then our virtual tour as we try to take you through the enormous convention center.
The LA Convention Center is made up of two huge halls (West & South) with smaller areas in between the way to each hall as well as an outdoor patch, which all together consists of 720,000 sq ft. Nearly 50,000 people were in attendance this year. Every year there are parties, just for people attending and I am talking about 4 to 8 parties going on every night E3 takes place, with some being more private then others. Not to mention the surrounding area is just filled with game related things, like this year Elder Scrolls Online Food Truck and a special Ouya Outdoor Event (which is a new portable gaming system). Your first time attending E3 is incredibly overwhelming, but like being a kid in a candy store if you are a gamer… however as professional journalists, we cannot just run to the first thing we are most excited to see as we must set appointments for meetings before hand that can be a private session consisting of just a few people or a tour of the publishers booth.