History of E3
The history of the E3 began with its creation in 1995 and has continued through the latest expo in 2012. The conference was known as the Electronic Entertainment Expo from 1995 to 2006. In 2007 and 2008, the conference was known as the E3 Media and Business Summit. The 2009 event's name reverted to the Electronic Entertainment Expo.
Electronic Entertainment Expo (1995–2006) 
The first E3 featured the start of Sony's entrance into the video game industry with its PlayStation. Sega's Saturn was ready to try and take advantage of the year head start it would have over Nintendo, who at the time had announced its Ultra 64 system (later renamed Nintendo 64) would be released in the summer of the following year. Nintendo used the event to unveil its Virtual Boy system, which turned out to be a commercial failure. Some of the games that were shown and garnered attention were Battle Arena Toshinden, Ridge Racer, Panzer Dragoon, Virtua Fighter, and D. Several game videos were shown for both the PlayStation and Saturn.
The event continued to grow and become a common place for the unveiling of new products. In 1996, Nintendo's press conference unveiled the Nintendo 64 and Super Mario 64 in the U.S. Capcom previewed the first game of their survival horror franchise Resident Evil, as well as their first 3D fighting game for PlayStation, Star Gladiator. Namco showed its PlayStation version of Tekken 2. Naughty Dog showed its first PlayStation offering, Crash Bandicoot and Sega showed its next mascot with Nights into Dreams... for the Saturn (also debuting its analog controller). Eidos Interactive showed off its multiplatform star in Tomb Raider. The Unreal Engine was shown for the first time by Epic MegaGames, but no actual Unreal gameplay. StarCraft also had its debut in a very early build of the game. Square showed its first PlayStation offering with Tobal No. 1 and showed a video of the most anticipated role playing game of the time, Final Fantasy VII. The event ran from May 16 through May 18 in Los Angeles, California.
In 1997, E3 was held in Atlanta, Georgia, where some of what would become the most popular first-person shooter games were unveiled, such as Half-Life and Unreal. Other first person shooters included Sin, Daikatana, Prey, Quake II and Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. In addition, the stealth action game Metal Gear Solid for the PlayStation was unveiled as well as Panzer Dragoon Saga for the Saturn. Superman, the 1999 video game for Nintendo 64, was also shown at E3 1997 and has been considered "one of the worst video games of all time".
In 1998, Half-Life made an appearance at E3 in its final development stage. Duke Nukem Forever was shown for the first time. A Prey trailer was also shown. Monolith Productions exhibited two new first person shooters, Blood II: The Chosen and Shogo: Mobile Armor Division. The final version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was also presented. The event was again held in Atlanta, Georgia.
1999 saw the dawn of a new generation of consoles. The Dreamcast, the first sixth generation era console, was featured. Nintendo announced the Dolphin which was the Nintendo GameCube codename. The event from here on ran usually in Los Angeles, California.
In 2000, the PlayStation 2 and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty were featured, as was the Xbox early dev and Halo: Combat Evolved when it was still a 3rd person PC game. The Dreamcast showcased its second gen games including Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes. Nintendo was still backing the N64 and some rumors of the Game Boy Advance had started. Epic Games, as they were named from then on (they dropped the "Mega-" to make the name more catchy), showcased Unreal Engine 2 for the first time, and also started the rumors of Unreal Warfare.
Microsoft held its press conference unveiling their first season of games for the Xbox. Some notable mentions include: Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, Enclave, Jet Set Radio Future, Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding, Mad Dash, Project Gotham Racing, Project Ego, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Dead or Alive 3, Gunvalkyrie and Halo: Combat Evolved.
Nintendo also made its first American unveiling of the GameCube in this event. Some notable games included Luigi's Mansion, Pikmin, Wave Race: Blue Storm, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Cel Damage, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, Super Monkey Ball, and Star Fox Adventures. Nintendo's Game Boy Advance, unveiled at an earlier Spaceworld was almost absent from E3 2001.
Despite the loss of Sega as a platform holder, the 2002 E3 continued the trend of bigger and bigger shows. Along with unveiling Xbox Live, Microsoft hosted numerous games like Blinx: The Time Sweeper, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, Dead to Rights, Unreal Championship, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Ninja Gaiden, and the never to be released B.C.
Nintendo GameCube games previewed on this show included Super Mario Sunshine, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Metroid Prime, Star Fox Adventures, TimeSplitters 2, Resident Evil Zero, Wario World, Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, Aggressive Inline, Phantasy Star Online, and 1080° Avalanche. They also unveiled the first major wireless controller, the Wavebird, with Super Mario Sunshine being played with it. Nintendo also supported the Game Boy Advance with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland, Doom II, Reign of Fire, and Super Monkey Ball Jr.. They also showed how you could connect with the Nintendo GameCube for special content, as demonstrated in a co-op mode for The Wind Waker.
In, 2003, Half-Life 2 was unveiled, a Halo 2 single player demo using an experimental lighting engine (which was not used in the final game) was shown and the PlayStation Portable was first mentioned. During this E3, exhibitors emphasized the rise of the MMORPG genre. The Sims 2 was also unveiled.
The last year to focus primarily on the sixth generation of consoles was 2004. A Halo 2 12 person capture the flag multiplayer demo was shown taking place on Zanzibar. The PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS were featured. The first trailer for the second sixth generation Zelda game, later named The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was shown. F.E.A.R. was unveiled, a teaser trailer being released shortly after. Unreal Engine 3 was demonstrated for the first time. Sony also announced that the PlayStation 3 would make an appearance at the next E3.
This was the first time the E3 convention was aired on television and all future conventions are now slated to air on the G4 network.
In 2005, the shift in focus continued with Sony debuting the PlayStation 3, albeit in unplayable form. Many of the games shown for the system were pre-rendered video. Nintendo unveiled their seventh generation console codenamed "Revolution" (later known as the Wii) along with the Game Boy Micro. However, Nintendo chose to keep the console's motion controllers secret until the 2005 Tokyo Game Show. Microsoft also unveiled the Xbox 360 at their press conference, and a game which was not released until 2010, Alan Wake.
E3 2005, the 11th annual E3 summit, attracted 70,000 attendees.
The 2006 E3 show focused on the upcoming releases of Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii, along with the next wave of games for the Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable, and mobile phones. Several websites such as The Washington Post noted in retrospect that Nintendo 'stole the show'. They cited the long lines for attendees waiting to play the Wii.
Although these new seventh generation era consoles were exhibited, attendance was 60,000 attendees, 14% lower than E3 2005.
- Microsoft, holding its conference at the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, announced its plans for its current system, the Xbox 360. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, spoke of plans to integrate several Microsoft services into one entity with Live Anywhere. This service was planned to allow multiplayer games and communication possible between Xbox 360 and the (then unreleased) Windows Vista operating system for the PC. Microsoft also announced a significant expansion of its Xbox Live arcade service, promising many more arcade favorites in the near future. Upcoming games announced for the Xbox 360 included Halo 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, Hitman: Blood Money, The Sopranos: Road to Respect, Fable II, Gears of War, and Sonic the Hedgehog.
- Nintendo held their pre-E3 press conference at the Hollywood and Highland Centre. The firm announced the US launch date for the Nintendo DS Lite. Nintendo decided not to announce the price for the Wii during E3, stating they preferred to announce it closer to the console's launch in Q4 2006. The very first game for the Wii was Wii Sports, which was also the pack-in game. Upcoming games announced for the Wii included The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Super Mario Galaxy, Sonic and the Secret Rings, Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Red Steel, Disaster: Day of Crisis, Project H.A.M.M.E.R., and Excite Truck. Upcoming games announced for the Nintendo DS included Final Fantasy III, New Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Children of Mana, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, Yoshi's Island DS, Star Fox Command, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates, Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Disney's American Dragon: Jake Long, Attack of the Dark Dragon, Diddy Kong Racing DS and Mario Hoops 3-on-3. Upcoming games announced for the Game Boy Advance included Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VI, and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team. Upcoming games announced for the Nintendo GameCube included Super Paper Mario, DK Bongo Blast, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and Baten Kaitos Origins. The first two of these were instead released on the Wii, and the third released on the Wii and the GameCube.
- Sony Computer Entertainment held their pre-E3 press conference at the Sony Pictures Studio in Culver City. The company announced the prices of two versions of its upcoming PlayStation 3 console for which the release dates were previously confirmed. The PlayStation 3 would retail for $599. The company said they would release the console in 20GB and 60GB versions. Sony also revealed the Sixaxis controller, which was announced to include motion sensing technology. Upcoming games announced for the PlayStation 3 included Grand Theft Auto IV (which wasn't released until 2008), Warhawk, Eyedentify, Final Fantasy XIII, MotorStorm, Vision Gran Turismo (later named Gran Turismo HD Concept), and Genji: Days of the Blade. Upcoming games announced for the PSP included Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Killzone: Liberation, Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters, Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, LocoRoco, Monster Hunter Freedom, Gangs of London, Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth, Sonic Rivals, Silent Hill: Origins (working title), Lemmings, and Ridge Racer.
In the days following Sony's conference, the presentation and historical inaccuracy of the game Genji: Days of the Blade was criticised and mocked by certain members of the gaming community, resulting in the Giant Enemy Crab meme.
E3 Media and Business Summit (2007–2008) 
On July 31, 2006, the ESA announced that the expo would be downsized and restructured due to the overwhelming demand from the exhibitors. On October 13, 2006, the new format of the show was detailed. Although E3 was originally envisioned as an expo open only to game industry professionals, it had grown in recent years to include greater numbers of bloggers and attendees who were not perceived to be industry professionals. Many of these persons were excluded from the revised event, as the ESA announced that the new E3 would be by invitation only.
It was originally speculated that because of these changes, independent developers may have been excluded, and subsequently damaged, in preference for larger game companies. But the ESA ultimately provided invitations for independent developers with "The Indie Games Showcase" booth. This was made possible through industry supporters, IndieCade and the International Game Developers Association.
"It almost feels like a zombie at this point; it's the walking dead. It's such an abrupt end to what was E3, which had been this huge escalating arms race....Right now we're in this kind of dicey, do we have an event, what event is it, which one do we go to? I think we're in an uncomfortable transition zone when really the real E3 died a couple of years ago."
2007 (July 11–13) 
Attendance to E3 2007, the 13th annual E3 summit attracted only 10,000 attendees due to the scaled back nature of this show. The summit was in Santa Monica, California, from July 11–13.
- Microsoft announced that Disney movies would be coming to Xbox 360 Live Marketplace. Gears of War was announced to be coming to the PC. New trailers were shown for Halo 3 and Halo Wars. A Halo-themed Xbox 360 was also announced. Details on Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution and Fallout 3 were given. BioShock, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and Assassin's Creed for Xbox 360, as well as Crysis for the PC were demoed. It was also announced that the Xbox 360 Elite would be coming to Europe on August 24, 2007. It was announced that the Xbox Live Video Marketplace would be released in Canada and select European countries in late 2007.
- Nintendo announced and demoed three new peripherals; the Wii Balance Board, Wii Zapper and Wii Wheel. The Wii Balance Board was announced to come packaged with the exercise-based game Wii Fit. The Wii Wheel was announced to be packaged with the newly announced Mario Kart Wii. The Wii Zapper was announced to come packaged with its own software at a low cost. Nintendo dated Super Smash Bros. Brawl for December 3, 2007, (though later in October 2007, the launch was delayed until February 10, 2008 and delayed again to March 9, 2008) and Super Mario Galaxy for November 12, 2007. De Blob, Contra 4, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption were demoed, the last in near-complete form. A trailer for Soulcalibur Legends was shown at the conference. Nitrobike and Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 were announced, the latter including 32-player online play.
- Sony announced that the 60 GB PlayStation 3 would be getting a US$100 price cut and a new 80 GB PlayStation would be coming packaged with MotorStorm for US$600 before E3 had started. An announcement made during E3 said that the price cut was made so Sony could clear all existing stock with the 60 GB PS3 and discontinue it (in America) when the 80 GB PS3 was released. A slimmer, more compact version of the PlayStation Portable was announced and demoed. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Gran Turismo 5, Resident Evil 5, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed trailers were shown. Heavenly Sword, Killzone 2, Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, and Burnout Paradise were demoed. Silent Hill 5 was announced with a short teaser trailer.
2008 (July 15–17) 
Attendance to E3 2008, the 14th annual E3 summit had a reduced attendance once more of only 5,000.
- Microsoft released demos for Fallout 3, Gears of War 2, Fable II, Resident Evil 5, and Saints Row 2, among other games. Though not all demos were available for download on Xbox Marketplace, new trailers for them were added. Also, an Xbox 360 dashboard update scheduled for fall 2008, with a new user interface and avatar system, was previewed. Additional television and movie content from NBCUniversal and other providers was announced for Xbox Live, including support for Netflix instant-watch titles. A television-style gaming feature known as Primetime was shown with a game based on the game show 1 vs. 100 shown as an example, there were also hints at a Big Brother type game and also a Deal or No Deal one. Final Fantasy XIII was also announced to be released for Xbox 360 in Europe and North America.
- Wii MotionPlus was announced by Nintendo on July 14, 2008. It connects with the expansion port at the bottom of the Wii Remote to boost its precision, and can render every movement in the wrist or arm to allow for a real-time response in gameplay when used in conjunction with the Sensor Bar and the Wii Remote's built-in functionality. A demo for Wii Music was unveiled on July 15, revealing support for the Wii Balance Board, as well as the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. The Wii Speak peripheral was also introduced, a microphone device that allows remote communication between players that would debut with one of the announced games, Animal Crossing: City Folk, and be compatible with The Conduit, both games for the Wii. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars was announced alongside Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades and details on Spore Creatures, all games for the Nintendo DS. A sequel for Wii Sports, titled Wii Sports Resort, was revealed to be in development and to be released next spring. At a private roundtable conference, development of a new Pikmin game was confirmed, along with research for a new The Legend of Zelda game and two new Mario games.
- Sony started its E3 presentation with a demo of Resistance 2. Details about an updated PlayStation Network were also released. These included Life With PlayStation and a new video download service that allows users to buy or rent movies from a large selection of movie publishers including Sony Pictures, Lionsgate, Warner Bros, Fox Home Entertainment, Disney, and MGM. Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty, a downloadable title from PSN, was previewed. Brief trailers of God of War III and other games were shown for the system. Sony announced the restart of the "Greatest Hits" list of games, releasing titles with high sales performances such as Assassin's Creed, Fight Night, Resistance: Fall of Man and more for $30 U.S. Other new titles were revealed including Resistance: Retribution for the PSP and MAG for the PS3. Sony also revealed they would be releasing a PSP bundle pack that included an Ice Silver PSP Slim and Lite, Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters, National Treasure: Book of Secrets on UMD, a voucher for Echochrome, and a 1GB Memory Stick Duo. Sony also announced an 80GB version of the PlayStation 3 was to be released for PAL and NTSC regions in August 2008, for the same price as the current 40GB model.
Electronic Entertainment Expo (2009–) 
Electronic Entertainment Expos beginning from 2009 reverted to the show's previous format before its 2007 restructuring. The show was greatly expanded in terms of size from previous years, it has been reopened to all qualified computer and gaming audience. The first show to revert to this format, E3 2009, was widely well received by game makers who were rather disappointed by E3 2007 and 2008.
2009 (June 2–4) 
E3 2009 was the 15th Electronic Entertainment Expo held. It was held June 2–4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Attendance of E3 2009 had attendance which was similar to that of E3 summits from before 2007. The attendance was up by 820% on the previous years summit (E3 2008) to 41,000 attendees, which itself is only a decline of 32% on E3 2006's attendance.
New motion sensing devices were revealed for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the PlayStation Move and Kinect first known as Project Natal respectively. Crysis 2, Halo: Reach, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Wii Vitality Sensor, WarioWare D.I.Y., Wii Fit Plus, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid: Other M, Final Fantasy XIV, ModNation Racers, and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker were announced at the show. Sony's new portable device, the PSP Go, was also announced.
2010 (June 15–17) 
The 2010 show was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Nintendo revealed The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, a Wii MotionPlus-compatible title in the The Legend of Zelda series, as well as the Nintendo 3DS handheld. THQ's Danny Bilson stated that Saints Row: The Third would debut at E3 and dubbed it as "mind-blowing". Also, THQ has announced the debut for Red Faction: Armageddon at E3. As well as this, Kingdom Hearts 3D has been revealed. Microsoft has announced Kinect, (formerly known as Project Natal) and unveiled its new Xbox 360 S model, while Sony displayed its upcoming motion-sensing game controller for the PlayStation 3 named PlayStation Move. About 45,600 attendees were present for E3 2010, an 11% increase over E3 2009's attendance.
2011 (June 7–9) 
E3 2011 was once again held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 7 to June 9. Nintendo announced the Wii U, their newest home console, it also announced the newest game the Mario Bros. Series for the Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo also celebrated the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda by giving attendees a brand new trailer, including a bit of the story in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Nintendo also announced the release of Mario Kart for the 3DS, a new 3DS Star Fox game and much more. Square-Enix revealed more of the much anticipated Final Fantasy XIII-2 and it announced Hitman: Absolution. Microsoft also announced 2 new games in the Halo franchise, Halo 4 and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition, both which are in development at 343 Industries. Sony unveiled the final name for the NGP, the PlayStation Vita. It is set to come out in North America in February 2012 at a price of $249 for the WiFi version and $299 for the 3G version. Other notable games including BioShock Infinite, Mass Effect 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Far Cry 3, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Gears of War 3, Forza Motorsport 4, Prototype 2, Tomb Raider, SSX, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Prey 2, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Sonic Generations, Need for Speed: The Run, Rage, WWE '12, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim were shown. Approximately 46,800 people were present at E3 2011, a 3% increase from E3 2010 and a 22% decline on E3 2006 attendance.
2012 (June 5–7) 
|This section requires expansion. (April 2013)|
E3 2012 was again held in the LA Convention center. Attendance for the 2012 E3 was 45,700, a 2% decline from 2011.The Wii U and all of its games were announced, including New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land and Wii Fit U.
2013 (June 11–13) 
It was announced by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which owns E3, that the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) will remain in Los Angeles for the next three years. E3 2013 will take place June 11-13, 2013, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, L.A. LIVE, and a plethora of venues throughout downtown Los Angeles. It will be the 19th Electronic Entertainment Expo that will be held. Nintendo have stated that they will be foregoing a large scale presentation in favor of smaller presentations targeted at specific groups, following their string of Nintendo Direct presentations. Microsoft is expected to showcase its software lineup for its eighth-generation console, which will be revealed on May 21st.
See also 
- Mark Bozon. "Looking Back: E3 2005". IGN.
- "ESA confirms much smaller E3 in '07". 2006-07-31. Retrieved 2007-06-02.
- "E3 game trade show not canceled, but will be downsized". Retrieved 2007-06-02.
- "The new E3: now minus the fun". 2006-08-06. Archived from the original on 2007-03-13. Retrieved 2007-07-11.
- "Entertainment Software Association Announces Evolution of E3Expo for 2007" (Press release). Entertainment Software Association. 2006-07-31. Retrieved 2007-06-02.
- "Indie games get a shot". 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
- Tal Blevins. "Editorial: Could 2008 Mark the Last Year for E3?". IGN.
- Kotaku - Will Wright Says E3 Is "The Walking Dead" - News
- Bungie.net : Inside Bungie : News
- Thorson, Tor (2008-07-14). "E3 '08: WiiMotionPlus 'precision' add-on intro'd". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
- "Introducing Wii MotionPlus, Nintendo's upcoming accessory for the revolutionary Wii Remote" (Press release). Nintendo. 2008-07-14. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
- Jimmy Thang. "E3 2008: Nintendo Announces WiiSpeak". IGN.
- E3 2009: Dates for next year's E3 expo announced - PC Gaming, PlayStation, Wii, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, News, Reviews, Downloads, Custom Apps, Homebrew and much more
- "Zelda Wii: Expect Surprises At E3 2010". Official Nintendo Magazine.
- Makuch, Eddie. "E3 2010 attendance hits 45,600, E3 2011 dated". GameSpot.
- Sinclair, Brendan. "E3 2011 attendance grows to 46,800". GameSpot.
- Sliwinski, Alexander. "E3 2012 had 45,700 attendees, will announce dates and venue for 2013 soon". Joystiq.com.
- Gamespy's article "Ten Years of E3"
- E3 Chronicles: The First 10 Years
- Feed containing all E3 news from popular web sources