Published: Thu, September 19, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

ESA’s pitch for E3 2020 is alarming to say the least

ESA’s pitch for E3 2020 is alarming to say the least

When you combine the fact that Sony did not host a press conference at the event a year ago with the constant leaks of planned announcements and the disastrous breach of the personal information of journalists, there's no denying that E3 is not what it once was. According to a pitch deck that GameDaily managed to get its hands on, which reveals that the proposed changes are based on feedback gathered from previous events. In the past, ESA members have killed the idea of making the show a consumer event.

With the greater focus on consumers, ESA also plans to change the layout of the Convention Centre so as they can accommodate the increased number of consumer attendees in 2020.

It would seem that U.S. video games trade body The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) wants to switch up its flagship E3 event.

According to a pitch for next year likely obtained by leaked documents, their vision for the event involves "paid media partnerships", influencer arrangements, and additional celebrities.

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Elsewhere, it has been proposed that attendees have access to a digital app to take the sting out of waiting times, and the ESA is supposedly organising "queuetainment" (seriously?) for those who are having to queue up.

We've seen E3 become arguably less important in the gaming calendar over the last few years; with Nintendo using "Direct" presentations to showcase its upcoming games, and other companies like Sony ditching the show altogether last year, the ESA clearly feels a need to freshen things up.

Essentially, the ESA is talking about exploiting consumer goodwill with charity tournaments during E3 and then cashing it in when public opinion later turns against its members. Some proposed changes include paid media partnerships and celebrity appearances. It's unclear if the ESA is talking about advertising or sponsored content, but since the slide says that one of the organization's goals is to "control content and the message" coming out of E3, it sure sounds like it's the latter. But they didn't feel like going full-on with celebrities, as part of the "Member Decision Points" part of the deck.

Introducing this mix of trade and consumer attendees makes it seem the ESA wants to make E3 similar to Cologne's Gamescom, which is the biggest video games trade show in the world, attracting 373,000 people this year.

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