The Entertainment Software Association has confirmed that an expanded Electronic Entertainment Expo -- or E3, as it's known -- will indeed return to the Los Angeles Convention Center June 2-4, 2009, but will not be open to the public as was rumored.
Previous early reports
of an "expanded" E3 were true to some extent, however, as the ESA promises "increased qualified audiences," or a broader range of allowed attendees including media, analysts, retailers, developers and business partners.
E3 in recent years has drawn criticism for its scaled-down size, loss of glitz and stricter attendance policies, and the ESA admits "changes were necessary to better meet the needs of both exhibitors and attendees."
The next E3 will also increase booth sizes, expand eligible participant companies to include non-ESA member organizations, and apply "an intensified focus on reinforcing the high-octane growth, innovation and captivating entertainment."
Pitching in to help promote the revamped format were major figures from the game publishing industry. In particular, John Riccitiello, CEO of Electronic Arts, commented: "The E3 Expo will be the pre-eminent North American gaming show next year. The new, larger event is better for industry leaders and for serious gamers."
The ESA also noted it would co-produce the event with IDG World Expo, organizers of the struggling E For All, whose principals have operated E3 since the first event in 1995.
“Video games are the fastest growing and most compelling sector of the entertainment industry. And, this upgraded event will reflect the growth, innovation and excitement of our industry,” says ESA CEO Michael Gallagher.
Laurent Detoc, president of Ubisoft North America, was also tapped for a quote, and he noted optimistically: "The video game business will be twice as big in 2009 as it was in 2006 when we had the last real E3 Expo - so get ready for some fireworks!"