E3 is part of a multibillion-dollar industry that addicts 59 percent of Americans and has launched its twentieth Electronic Entertainment Expo. E3 has been running since 1995 after video games became so fast changing and required their own conference to launch their products rather than launching them at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This conference has attracted the major video game companies including Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, Sony and Nintendo as well as countless of industry leaders and 275 exhibitors including the featured Exhibitor, ‘What’s in the Box? Entertainment. The host of the conference is the Entertainment Software Association and the sponsors naturally include those that would benefit from video-game sales such as video platforms and communities such like Twitch, magazines such as Game Informer, Comprar Magazine, and Gamer On. Not far behind as sponsors are blogs dedicated to technology and video games such as Venture Beat, Multi-player It, and 2P.com.
Held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the expo event that began with a press event today and officially opens tomorrow runs through Thursday June 18 and is expected to attract nearly 50,000 attendees. Attendees not only get to preview new technology, games, and products, they also get goodie bags from sponsors which in the past have included action figurines from beloved games such as Halo and Skylander Giants, a remote control airplane, personalized Oswald the Lucky Rabbit ears from Epic Mickey 2, a gas masks to promote Metro: Last Light, and books, guides, and game encyclopedias.
At E3, there are software developers and programmers as well as distributors and retailers, manufacturers, importers and exporters, and Venture Capitalists (VCs). The expo receives worldwide coverage from print and digital media. The video game industry is a heavy one, which sold $22.4 billion worth of software and hardware in 2014. What is most interesting about the gaming industry is the change in demographics in the last decade. The stereotypical assumption of video gamers is that they are young boys or even twenty-year-olds playing games and delaying the eventual phase of growing up. Today, E3 and the multi-billion dollar industry rules 59 percent of Americans, that is to say, 59 percent of Americans play video games – that’s 150 million Americans and only 4 percent more men than women play video games. Men make up 52 percent of players and the average age for a player is 31 years old. There are more video game players over the age of 50 than under the age of 18. It is well worth noting that although the users have changed, those who make the games are still overwhelmingly male, making up 76 percent of game developers.
People spend their time chasing bad guys, winning, and fighting. The top selling games of 2014 included (in order), Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Madden NFL 15, Destiny, Grand Theft Auto V, and Minecraft (now owned by Microsoft). E3 awaits surprises when it comes to mobile video games, which are expected to overtake traditional gaming consoles this year. Aficionados are already following the bloggers and reporters on Twitter following the hashtag #E3 and expect at least two surprises in addition to 1600 new products:
1. Virtual Reality like nothing that has been seen before – products will be on display from Sony and Oculus
2. A face-off between industry franchises with new releases of some favorites including Halo 5: Guardians, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, and Star Wars: Battlefront.
The E3 conference will be worth following not only because of the celebration of 20 years, but also because it awaits many surprises. It is likely that video game industry will continue to grow in its multi-billion empire and rules more than 59 percent of Americans and when it does, this conference will make it easier to crowdsource the best and biggest games.
By Olivia Uribe-Mutal
IGN – Attendance and Stats
Big Fish Games – Who’s Playing Games?
Gameranx – Best Swag of E3 2012: The Goodies Gamers Got to Take Home
Fortune – Mobile game revenues set to overtake console games in 2015
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License