We declared earlier this year that E3 should never be in-person again, but E3 apparently wasn't listening. In June, the Entertainment Software Association announced a partnership with PAX organizer ReedPop to make E3 return in 2023 and today they announced the show dates as well as a change in scheduling that will see the event split into industry and public days.
The big event will return to the Los Angeles Convention Center begining on June 13, 2023 with E3 Business Days, which will be restricted to "registered industry personnel" for hands-on time with upcoming games and probably lots of meetings and stuff. Business! E3 Business Days will run until June 15.
June 15 will also see the start of the open-to-all (as long as you have a ticket) E3 Gamer Days, "inviting consumers to go hands-on with the future of gaming and connect with developers, content creators, media personalities, and more." E3 Gamer Days will be held in a separate hall at LACC, presumably to avoid potential rumbling with the business types, and will run through June 16, giving attendees the opportunity to "go hands-on with the future of gaming and connect with developers, content creators, media personalities, and more.".
Leading up to all of this will be a series of "partnered digital events" that will begin on June 11 and run for the duration of the show.
"E3 is one of the global gaming industry’s few opportunities to come together, unite as one loud voice, and show the world what it is creating," ReedPop VP of Gaming Kyle Marsden-Kish said. "Our vision is to reunite the industry by re-establishing the traditional E3 week, bring back that spark, and restore E3's role as a truly magical global showcase event for game creators and consumers."
A noble goal to be sure, but it remains to be seen whether anyone actually wants that week back. There was a time when E3 was far and away the biggest event of the year, but that's long past, and its declining relevance was thrown into sharp relief by its Covid 19-driven absence over the past three years, which seemed to roll along perfectly fine without it.
Some people, by which I mean PC Gamer's Rich Stanton, miss the excitement and spontaneity of a live E3, and if he's correct in his assessment of its primary underlying problem—"The ESA is a shit show"—then putting it in the hands of ReedPop, which has considerable experience in managing public events, might at least get the show back on to some form of relevance. Much of its potential success lies with who ultimately signs up to take part. But with open-to-the-public PAX events already in plentiful supply, major publisher pressers succeeding as digital-only showcases, and of course Geoff Keighley's big Summer Game Fest show also set to run in June (specific dates for that one haven't been announced yet), the big question remains: E3 is back, but will anyone care?
Details on what's in store for E3 2023, including exhibitors, schedules, and hotel and travel guides, will be released in the coming months.