ESA to rebrand E3 as a ‘fan, media, and influencer festival’ that capitalises on influencers’ desire for ‘social good’

The Entertainment Software Association has revealed plans to change E3’s format by rebranding as a “fan, media, and influencer festival” that will invite an additional 10,000 visitors to the show. 

In a pitch reportedly written for the organisation’s members and seen by, the ESA says it is responding to attendee feedback with plans to include more influencers in activities, as well as revisions to its usual show floor plan for new “on-floor” experiences. 

The organisation’s members, however, did not approve the idea of paying for celebrity attendees, but instead agreed that celebrities could be invited via an “organised program”. Members were similarily unconvinced by plans to turn the event into a consumer show like PlayStation Experience. 

It was agreed, however, that given the increase in consumer passes, the show should have an “industry-only day”, much like the first day of competing trade show, Gamescom. And while it also proposed a new app to help visitors mitigate queue times similar to Disney’s FastPass system, the organisation also said it would take advantage of queuing visitors with “queuetainment” marketing opportunities for exhibitors. 

E3 Strategy Deck Updated by on Scribd

The presentation also outlined plans to capitalise on the “giving back” propensity of Millennial and Generation Z influencers. In a slide called “The Power of Social Good”, the organisation said it was costly to engage influencers through “traditional means […] due to the speaker and appearance fees” so instead suggested the ESA could engage influencers with a “year-round and multiple-year approach”.

“We have something they crave for their social good efforts – attention and access to a platform representing the biggest industry on the planet,” the slide said. “And they have something we want – validation, attention, and excitement across media outlets beyond the video game space.”

While 200+ exhibitors showed off their latest games at E3 2019 this year – a figure broadly in line with previous years – the expo attracted 3,000 fewer visitors than it did last year, dropping to a little over 66,000 attendees. A press release from the ESA – the trade organisation that runs E3 – also confirmed that E3 generated 3.2 million conversations on Twitter, whilst the live stage presentations that make up E3 Coliseum – which featured talks from Jack Black, Will Wright, Elon Musk, and Todd Howard – generated 1.2 million online viewers.

Entertainment Software Association (ESA) unintentionally published the names, home addresses and phone numbers of more than 2,000 journalists who have attended E3 2019. These details, which have now been removed, appeared in a spreadsheet that was hosted on E3’s website – anyone with the link could access it and download it. It wasn’t only journalists whose details were leaked, either, but also “YouTube creators, Wall Street financial analysts at firms like Wedbush and Goldman Sachs, and Tencent employees”.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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