E3 ended five days ago, but that hasn't stopped speculation about the event - primarily, where it's going to be held in the coming years. This past E3, attendance shot up almost 20,000, from 50,000 last year to almost 68,400 this year. The negotiation that E3 has with the LA Convention Center and the City of Los Angeles lasts until 2019, but what will happen after that is suddenly up in the air.
Mike Gallagher, CEO of the ESA (The Entertainment Software Association) said at a roundtable discussion with GameSpot that they may pursue other options if the LA convention center "does not modernize and upgrade the facility." E3 is certainly one of the largest clients the LA Convention Center has and to lose their business would be catastrophic. Gallagher pointed out that the center should be modernized to increase the overall floor space and make the different halls more contiguous. The two main halls of the center are separated by a long hallway.
E3 has not yet started selling public tickets for next year's event, meaning that it has not come to any concrete decisions on venue. Gallagher stressed that there will be a good degree of feedback between the gaming industry, E3 and the fans that attend the shows before a decision is made regarding the format for 2018.
This hardball technique has been tried before by the ESA. In 2014, there was speculation that E3 could change venues in 2016. Back then, Gallagher said that the convention center "was no longer a top-tier property," for what he called a "world-class show". Whether the ESA was bluffing is unclear.
Sources from 2014 said that the ESA was looking at other locations outside of Los Angeles - including Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and even New Orleans. There has been no confirmation that E3 is still looking into these locations. There has also been some suggestion that the ESA is looking at other greater LA venues. The inaugural E3 event was held in 1995 at the LA Convention Center, and much to the surprise of the then fledgling video game industry, there were over 40,000 attendees.
The only times E3 was not held at the LA Convention Center was in 1997 and 2007, when it was held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, and the Barker Hanger at the Santa Monica Airport respectively, during negotiations with vendors. Attendance in 2007 was limited to 10,000.
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