For the first-time ever, E3 is opening its doors to the general public. If you’re considering purchasing a ticket and attending, this guide will help you plan your trip to the biggest video game industry event of the year.
I’ve covered E3 as a fan and journalist for over 10 years and although there have been a few changes throughout the years, it is still a wondrous spectacle that gives attendees an intimate glimpse into pre-release games and hardware. However, one does not simply walk into the halls of the LA Convention Center. A little planning can help you maximize your week.
Tickets – Show Floor Only
There is an early bird special going on for E3 tickets. Early bird tickets have sold out! The first 1,000 tickets will be sold for $150 per ticket, and the remaining 14,000 tickets will be sold for $250 each.
Keep in mind that the tickets sold to the general public will not give you access to everything that goes on at E3. There are game demos that are given only to industry professionals behind closed doors, press conferences, parties, and other events that general attendees will not have access to. There is still a ton of awesome things for you to do though.
The show floor is split between two main halls, the East Hall and the West Hall. When the official E3 website publishes the map, you’ll want to examine it closely to find out where your favorite publishers’ and developers’ booths will be located.
And speaking of the show floor, it will be open during these hours:
|Tuesday, June 13, 2017
||12:00PM – 6:00PM
|Wednesday, June 14, 2017
||10:00AM – 6:00PM
|Thursday, June 15, 2017
||10:00AM – 5:00PM
Be forewarned that there will be an enormous crowd of people waiting in a massive line at the beginning of each day just to get onto the show floor. You should either plan to arrive to the Convention Center very early to get to the most popular booths at the start of the day.
Once you get onto the show floor, make a beeline directly to the booth you’re most excited to check out. All of the major publishers and developers will have their biggest video game titles available to demo on the show floor, but you should expect there to be a massive line, so plan accordingly. While most lines will not take more than two hours to get through, there are some that may take longer. The line to check out HoloLens at the Xbox booth last year capped almost immediately after the show floor opened, and the folks who managed to make it to the end of the line had to literally wait in line the entire day.
One of the biggest pro-tips I can give you is to check out the Xbox and Playstation booths if the line at a third-party game publisher’s booth is too long. Both of the Xbox and Playstation booths will be filled with game demo stations for first and third-party titles, and the lines tend to be far shorter than the lines at the dedicated third-party booths. That said, a big reason why you may want to brave any of the long lines is for the great swag that are handed out at the end of the demos. Free and exclusive t-shirts, pins, lanyards, and other fun swag are fun collectibles that may be worth waiting in line for (keep in mind that all swag are available in limited quantities).
Additionally, there are some game demos that are not hands-on. You may be waiting in line for hours simply to watch a video presentation of a game and not actually get to play the game itself. Be sure to find out if this is the case before investing your time waiting in a long line.
Lastly, while you’re waiting in a line or just walking the show floor, keep your eyes open. Game developers and celebrities will be wandering the floors as well, and many will be happy to take a selfie with you if you ask politely.
Although Xbox Fanfest hasn’t yet been officially announced for E3 2017 (hopefully Xbox will give us some news soon), Breaking News: Xbox Fanfest at E3 2017 has officially been announced! For the past few years, Xbox has held a Fanfest during E3, but Xbox Fanfest isn’t just one event. Folks with a Fanfest ticket have been given a free ticket to the E3 show floor, a VIP invitation to the Xbox press conference, an invitation to a special Fanfest party, a swag bag, and other awesome perks. Here’s a link to info about last year’s Fanfest.
Getting a ticket to Xbox Fanfest is no small task. You have to arrive at a designated location (usually the Microsoft Store in Los Angeles) by a certain time, at which point a free raffle is held for 500 Fanfest tickets. I read that there were nearly 1,000 people who entered the raffle last year. The demand for a Fanfest ticket has grown each year, and folks have camped out overnight just to be first in line to meet and greet representatives from the Xbox team.
If you are lucky enough to score a Fanfest ticket, you’ll be in for a fantastic E3 for sure.
Industry professionals will be dressed in traditional business attire, but that doesn’t mean fans need to wear a suit. Los Angeles will be warm during E3, and although the Convention Center has plenty of air conditioning, it can still get warm inside. Dressing comfortably should be a priority. Wear comfortable shoes for all of the walking and standing around that you will do. T-shirts are perfectly acceptable, but keep a hoodie in a backpack for cooler mornings.
You may even want to pack a mini camping stool for those long lines, unless you’re comfortable with sitting on the floor.
Be sure to check out the activities going on outside of the Convention Center. Publishers usually set up booths and tents at LA Live, which is across the street from Staples Center, where fans can play games and engage in other fun activities.
EA will be hosting their EA Play event again this year. Unfortunately, EA Play will take place at the Hollywood Palladium, which isn’t exactly close to the Convention Center. However, I highly recommend setting aside some time to take an Uber or Metro to EA Play to demo some great games and score a bit of swag.
Lodging & Transportation
Staying at a hotel near the Convention Center during E3 can be very expensive. You may want to consider checking out hotels outside of downtown Los Angeles for more reasonable costs. If you do, make sure you find a hotel that is close to public transportation (click here to learn more about LA Metro), which will be far less expensive than renting a car (parking near the Convention Center usually costs at least $25 per day) or taking Uber rides. For example, the Cities of Downey and Norwalk are less than 15 miles away from the Convention Center, and the 460 express bus line can take you from the Norwalk Bus Station to the Convention Center in only 20 minutes, which is an incredible feat considering the amount of traffic LA has.
Enjoy the Sights
While you are in LA, you may want to take a couple of days to do some sight-seeing. Universal Studios Hollywood recently opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Disneyland or California Adventure are always great to spend time at. You can also go to Santa Monica and enjoy the beach, or take a trip down to the beautiful beaches in Orange County.
E3 will be a blast, no matter how you decide to approach it, but a little advanced planning can go a long way to make the best of your week. Got any questions or thoughts? Send me a tweet @aceattorney.