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Report: Leaked E3 plans propose fan-focused event with 10,000 more attendees

May add an industry-only day, followed by several general admission days

Annual E3 Event In Los Angeles Showcases Video Game Industry’s Latest Products
Fans wearing Borderlands 3 masks wait in line to visit game demo at E3 2019.
Photo: David McNew/Getty Images
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The Electronic Software Association (ESA) hopes to rebrand E3 as a “fan, media, and influencer festival” in 2020, according to a report by The article also indicates that members of the lobbying organization have approved the sale of an additional 10,000 badges for the public, bringing the total consumer attendance to 25,000. These and other conclusions were drawn from a slide deck reportedly created by the ESA to pitch the proposal to member organizations.

According to the report, members of the ESA — which include Activision Blizzard, Bethesda, Bungie, Electronic Arts, Epic Games, Microsoft, Sony PlayStation, Ubisoft, and Wizards of the Coast, among others — approved the proposal to add more consumer tickets to the show. That may lead to a bifurcated E3 experience, with an industry-only day followed by several general admission days. The change would bring the event in line with Gamescom, Europe’s largest gaming convention.

Other changes to the event could include an app-based reservation system for game demos, entertainment opportunities for fans waiting in line, and charitable efforts led by high-profile gaming influencers.

The deck also included a slide listing Tech Impact, a series of reported segments produced by Maram Entertainment, as paid promotional advertisements for E3. Maram’s YouTube channel does not feature disclosures marking the content as promotional, and it’s unclear if disclosures were made during airings on CNBC during the convention.

Polygon has reached out to Maram Entertainment for confirmation and clarification.

Update (Sept. 18): Reached for comment, a representative of the ESA confirmed for Polygon that the slides were authentic.

“Every year, we conduct an overall review of E3 to ensure that the event meets the needs of exhibitors,” wrote the ESA representative in an email. “The discussion deck was part of a wide-ranging brainstorm session to explore options and generate ideas for the upcoming E3. We look forward to announcing official E3 2020 plans in the weeks and months ahead.”

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