And that's what E3 2016 looked like when it was "industry only" (Photo: Entertainment Software Association)

The Entertainment Software Association has announced through GameSpot that, for the first time ever, the general public will be able to buy tickets to attend this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, the annual video-game trade show extravaganza that’ll once again be taking over the Los Angeles Convention Center in June. Starting February 13, 15,000 tickets will be up for grabs. According to the GameSpot report, they’ll cost $250 each, but there’s an early bird discount that will bring the cost down to $150. Those tickets will get you access to the show floor, where the game publishers erect flashy booths to show off their upcoming releases, as well as panel discussions and other events throughout the show’s June 13 through 15 run.

More commonly known as E3, the expo has traditionally been an industry-only event for game developers, publishers, retailers, and press. Its definition of “industry only” has always been pretty forgiving, but the ESA took steps toward opening E3 up even more in the last few years with a free outdoor E3 Live showcase and thousands of tickets for exhibitors to distribute among select fans.

Advertisement

People have been questioning the show’s relevancy for years, and doubts reached a new height in 2016 after some publishers—namely Activision and Electronic Arts—pulled out of the festivities. Selling tickets directly to the public would help the ESA recoup some of the money it’s been losing due to dropouts, but it’s sure to make the experience of actually being at what was already an overcrowded show even more horrible. And unless exhibitors change their practices to make up for these thousands of attendees who wouldn’t have been there otherwise, anyone who buys a ticket better be prepared to spend each day doing little more than waiting in line for a few hours to see 15 to 30 minutes of game footage they could’ve seen on the internet eventually.