The biggest event in video games is E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, which takes place every year in June in Los Angeles. The giant convention is a haven for gamers who want to see (and often play) the next big set of games before they’re released, hang out with people dressed up as characters such as Sonic the Hedgehog or Kratos fromGod of War,or who have a hankering to spend several days deeply immersed in extremely loud dubstep from competing publishers’ booths.
Though the convention has been industry-only for most of its history, it opened up to the public for the first time in years in 2017. If you’ve got a way of getting to Los Angeles and a few hundred bucks to drop on a ticket, you too can enjoy a gaming convention that formerly was open only to developers, publishers, journalists, and people working on the retail side of the industry.
It’s a little late to try to get to E3 this year (although tickets are still available). If you’re looking to get set for E3 2019, though, all you need is a little money and the wherewithal to prepare for the trip and purchase your E3 tickets months in advance. Here’s all you need to know to get to E3 2019.
When tickets go on sale
First off, you’ll need to prepare for your E3 preparations. For the last two years, tickets have first gone on sale in mid-February. You’ll definitely want to snag your E3 tickets for 2019 as soon as they’re availablebecause the first 1,000 tickets have been sold at an early bird discount the past two years.
Tickets run for $149 for the three-day “Gamer Pass” that the Entertainment Software Association sells for the general public. After the first 1,000 tickets are sold, though, the cost rockets up $100 to $249. There are no tickets sold for fewer days, so the best plan is to be ready the day tickets go on sale to snag one of the early bird ones.
When and where
E3 typically takes place in mid-June (this year it’s June 12-14 for the public), and the ESA usually announces the exact dates for the next year soon after E3 ends. Unless something big changes, expect E3 to take place at the same venue as usual: The Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown L.A.The Gamer Pass gets you access to the convention center for three days.
The Gamer Pass also gets you access to the E3 Coliseum this year, which includes panels, demonstrations, worldwide first-looks at new games, and more. The Coliseum will likely be part of the festivities next year, as well.
What to bring
This year, the ESA is introducing a new policy to check bags for E3 entrants, and some items are prohibited. They include weapons, outside food and drink, alcohol, fliers and handouts, and large bags — so make sure you have somewhere to leave your luggage if you’re traveling.
That said, you’ll want a bag or backpack of some kind to collect giveaways and swag from the various game publishers and designers represented at E3. Note that if you’re headed to the E3 Coliseum, however, no bags are allowed. Be prepared to stand in a lotof lines, so make sure you’ve got comfortable shoes. Finally, it’s a good idea to pack your own hand sanitizer to use every time you touch a controller; keeping your hands clean can go a long way to avoiding picking up the various convention-borne illnesses.