The massive video game trade show is selling tickets to the public for the first time ever.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced today that this year they will be selling an allotment of 15,000 tickets to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Tickets go on sale February 13 at the early bird price of $150, after the initial sale tickets will be $250.

According to ESA senior VP of communications, Rich Taylor, in an interview with GameSpot, the move to open E3 to the public comes in response fan feedback from last year’s E3 Live event. E3 Live was an attempt by the ESA to hold a separate free event for fans while maintaining the traditional industry only atmosphere of the main E3 show. On the decision Taylor said this:

The feedback we heard was clear–they wanted to play the games inside the convention center. In addition, exhibitors inside the convention center wanted to have access to the fans. So this year we’re bringing the two together.

It’s a changing industry, and E3 has always evolved to meet industry needs and anticipate where we’re heading together–as an event, as an industry, and as fans. The decision to open our doors to 15,000 fans was a strategic decision. It is thanks to our members and their vision and leadership that made this possible. We have a model that allows the business of the industry to continue for our business and media attendees and provides an opportunity for video games’ biggest fans to experience the latest in innovative, immersive entertainment.

 

The relevance of E3 is questioned as often as the show is held. Recently, the rise of competing gaming shows like PAX in the US and GamesCom in Europe have added weight to the argument that E3 is not as important to the industry as it once was. Both Activision and EA dropped out of last year’s E3 with EA going so far as to hold a separate EA Play event alongside E3. More and more game developers and publishers directly speak to fans through platforms like Twitch and YouTube. Allowing fans in to E3 could be ESA’s attempt to counter some of the effects of these changes in the gaming industry.

So who’s buying tickets?

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