E3 2017 is the first in its long history to offer mass amounts of tickets to the general public. While that’s great news for consumers, what does that mean for brands and members of the press, for which E3 has catered exclusively to in the past?

Noobs Welcome

While E3 veterans know that, traditionally, there is a healthy host of photo ops on the show floor, brands really stepped it up this year for the general consumer. Video game brands prepared for the onslaught of new faces with eye-catching and selfie-worthy activations from the “Bethesdaland” amusement park to a Nyko ball pit that players could try controllers in.

“With opening up to the public this year, it’s the perfect opportunity to have something that’s so engaging and interactive,” Nyko exhibitor Surabhi Srivastava told AListDaily. “We wanted to have a slide that goes into the ball pit, but there were a lot of waivers around the design.”

Twitch and T-Mobile teamed up to bring a full-fledged esports arena to nearby L.A. LIVE, where large crowds gathered to watch pros duke it out in the latest fighting games.

“Though the number of esports events held each year around the world continues to grow, we know many fans have only seen an event while watching Twitch,” Salvatore said. “​Because 15,000​ ​consumer passes have been sold to E3​, it​ means ​a lot of fans will have the chance to be part of a live esports event.”

“I think it was definitely a good move for us to open the doors and bring the public in,” Dan Hewitt, vice president of media relations and event management for the Entertainment Software Association (the organizing body of E3) told AListDaily. “The response has been very positive. If you go down to the floor, it’s very accessible. The lines are very manageable. And I think that the response we’re getting from our exhibitors is only positive. The entire world is focused on Los Angeles right now with E3 and video games. That just underscores E3’s dominance as the global event for computer and video games, whether that’s games on consoles, PC or mobile. It’s all on the floor. And there really is a great diversity not only in terms of the number of our attendees but also in terms of the exhibitors that are in the hall.”

Hope You Like Crowds

Of course, one downside to opening its doors to even more people is the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. Getting from one side of the convention center to the other in a sea of green consumer badges proved easier said than done, especially for members of the press. While many complained over social media, others delighted in watching that excitement come over newcomers’ faces at their first E3.

Overall, marketers seem thrilled to gain direct access to a flood of excited gamers.

“With fans paying their way to come in, they’re the core gamers. We’re looking at it that way from a branding and marketing perspective,” Mac Marshall, ‎senior director of brand, PR and communications for Turtle Beach told AListDaily.