Although the Entertainment Software Association is loosening its rules on allowing non-game industry members of the public into its annual E3 event, it's unlikely children will be allowed to attend any time soon.
According to ESA chief Michael Gallagher, the "expectations of parents in society" dictate that allowing children into an event displaying content marketed to adults might cause publicity problems for the publishers.
Speaking at an E3 "Lunch for Luminaries" event attended by various senior developers and publishers, Gallagher addressed a question on allowing children into the show. E3 states that "no one under 17" is allowed into the LA Convention Center during the event. There are exceptions, which Gallagher said he "personally signs off on."
One wag at the Luminaries event jokingly categorized these as the "children of celebrities," although E3 has occasionally accepted youngsters under the aegis of organizations like Make-a-Wish.
Gallagher pointed to the different expectations of parents across various formats, like the Internet and mobile games, compared to "boxed AAA games." All boxed games carry ESRB content warnings, while mobile and Internet games have a patchy system. E3 is predominantly based around those boxed products, and selling them to retailers.
The show has always featured content aimed at adults. This year, actors dressed as zombies are walking the halls of the convention center.