E3 will be open to the public this year so they can adapt to thrive in a changing reality. The industry has changed and a need for what E3 used to be when it first started has changed with it. There are many legitimate concerns about opening E3 to the public and if this is the right direction for the ESA.
My first E3 was in 2015 so I am not bothered by the public joining. I will still be able to meet with who I need to see. Lines to some of the games that I want to play for my personal enjoyment will be much longer but they were already bad. I could tell a lot of non-industry folks were getting into E3 anyways.
Professional veterans in the industry will continue to have to make appointments and meet in private secluded areas. I can’t imagine much business is done in the public areas these days. Most people have most of their week already planned out with who they have to meet so I can’t imagine it changing too much for them even with more of the public in attendance.
My biggest concern I have is for all the people that have to work the show floor. The show floor is the one area that is going to be most impacted by this decision. For anyone that has to work E3 organizing all the small moving pieces will no doubt be even more stressed out when you have to account for all those extra people.
Influencers and media that are still growing will probably be hurt too since the limited business that could be done will be even more difficult. Especially if they need to get time with the publishers and developers that have smaller booths since they themselves could never fit many appointments. Going into E3 not knowing anyone in the industry beforehand will be an unproductive time.
The value of bringing passionate fans shouldn’t be dismissed. There is a reason why so many video games companies find events such as PAX and Gamescom a rewarding investment. While I am not saying E3 should become more public like them I do see merit in bringing in more of the public to E3.
I don’t know what E3 needs to do to adapt to this changing industry. So many publishers have so many different reasons for choosing not to attend. The ESA will be going through some growing pains as they figure out what they need to do but as long as gamers continue to be excited about all the announcements during E3 and those working it can spread that excitement then everything will be fine.
What I do know is that I love going to E3 and I want everyone that has something to amazing to show to be rewarded for their efforts. Whatever E3 has to do to make it a valuable experience for everyone I am all for.