This June's revitalized E3 Expo is expecting 40,000 attendees and has sold 90 percent of its available space, signing up over 100 exhibitors thus far, says the Entertainment Software Association.
The event is gaining "positive momentum," the ESA says, noting it's "on track" to meet its goal of 40,000 qualified attendees. Booth sizes are capped and attendees this year are more limited, but the ESA also says the format has helped attract exhibitors from "broader technological circles."
Last year's event garnered criticism from some industry publishers. Several major companies, notably Activision, rescinded their ESA membership and declined to present at E3. This year's event appears to be enjoying more support, however.
"The E3 Expo is bigger and better this year and for EA," says Electronic Arts' corporate communications VP Jeff Brown. EA CEO John Riccitiello was among the critics of last year's event, commenting at the time: "I hate E3 like this."
Now, says Brown, "The expanded format means we'll have more demos, announcements, promotions and blockbuster games than ever before."
THQ publishing EVP Scott Guthrie also gave the new format a vote of confidence, and Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter notes that the timing of this year's E3 in June is more constructive to publishers. Among the criticisms of last year's event was the fact that its timing made it less than ideal for strong announcements.
"It is very exciting for the videogame industry to once again have a global platform from which to report on the trends, innovations and exciting new games that are fueling the growth of our market," said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of publishing at THQ. "We look forward to meeting with press and retailers from around the world, as well as the investment community to share several key titles from THQ's portfolio at the E3 Expo in June."
"The show's format is a return to the great E3 Expos of the past, and there is tremendous interest from investors, publishers and media," said Pachter. "I expect buzz about the show to build every week until June, and expect many breaking announcements the first week in June."
E3 will be held at the Los Angeles convention center June 2-4.