Update: Based on this article at GamesIndustry.boz, I guess we see where E3 got its surprisingly large (i.e. artificially inflated) attendance numbers from: 20,000 free tickets given away for E3 Live.
I always come back from E3 with a lot of pictures, but time is scarce (especially as a lone freelancer) and connectivity is typically unreliable when you’re at the show–which makes it difficult to maintain any sort of photostream.
Instead I’m dumping 120 pictures from E3 2016 right here for the time being. Most of them came out OK (with some exceptions) but there are generally unedited, so apologies if there are some lousy pics intermixed in here.
Small.According to the ESA press release, they claim around 70,000 attendees this year, which is about 15,000 more than last year. But this year felt like the smallest one I remember in the last 3 years or so.
There was a lot of unused space. The displays seemed smaller. EA and Activision’s floor absence was noticeable, at least for those that have attended the show for a while. According to a source in a bar over drinks (I didn’t get his name, but he indicated that he worked for EA), EA left the show floor because the ESA was essentially doing away with what amounted to “loyalty rewards” — a program that has long given EA prominent (i.e. the best) possible booth placement and space at E3 for the last 20 years.
EA’s response? Leaving the show floor and setting up on their own “mini con” across the street — AND opening it to consumers.
I’m not sure if this is why Activision was also absent, although they had sizable upstairs business offices.
Regardless, the show just felt smaller, the displays tamer, and the show in general less than what it was around 2009-2012. It’s nice to have smaller crowds, but the overall spectacle of it all seemed diminished. Whether or not this is an indicator of E3’s struggle to maintain prominence and recover relevance I can’t say — and E3 has come back from periods of decline in the past.
That said, it was still plenty of fun, and I got to connect with a lot of industry friends that I only see in person 1-2 times per year at E3 and PAX. And I still hope I get to go next year. 🙂