WHAT IS E3?
E3 is one the largest consumer trade show and conventions in the world, and the largest one for video games in terms of size and attendance. E3 is like the Mecca of the video game industry, and once a year gamers everywhere take the pilgrimage to it, either in person or on their computers or even by watching it on TV. Every year dozens of video game publishers and developers attend the convention to show off their wares for the year (and beyond), presenting trailers, gameplay footage, demos, and more to retailers, press, and attendees alike.
It's one gigantic, week long holiday for video games, like Hannukah but with focus being on both new games (referred to as software) and upcoming console releases (dubbed "hardware") instead of lighting candles and exchanging gifts. Well, the games are the gifts, I guess. At the end of the day, if a company has huge video game news to announce, chances are they will choose E3 as the venue to do it at.
WHERE IS E3?
E3 takes place every year at the Los Angeles Convention Center in California.
HOW LONG DOES IT LAST FOR?
Technically, the show itself lasts only three days, from June 14 - June 16, although many of the bigger publishers host press conferences before hand that begin a few days prior. The earliest press conference this year takes place on Sunday, putting the actual length of the event around five days. But the fervor and the buzz around it starts months before and lasts weeks afterwards. It is a glorious oasis in the wasteland that is summer, because very few games come out between May and July.
WHAT IS GOING TO BE THERE?
Games! And lots of them! Mostly new ones, the whole point is to show you what you'll be playing this year and looking forward to next year. So yeah, games. And some trailers, special announcements, new consoles, bundles, holiday deals, controllers, peripherals, literally anything and everything relating to video games on any platform is going to be there.
E3 is full of the following: long lines for demos, overpriced food, lines for bathrooms, lots of free swag and handouts for things you don't need, dancers and costumed actors trying to get you to come to their booth and learn about their game, and lots of private, backroom meetings between distributors and vendors and the publishers and developers, to better figure out ways to sell you games for the upcoming holiday season. It's an industry event, a trade show, a press junket, and a hype machine, all in one week long festival of fun and surprises.
HOW DO I ATTEND?
Unfortunately, you can't — E3 is not open to the general public, at least not most years. In order to attend the show, you have to be a worker member of the industry. Full information on who can attend the event can be found on E3's official website.
CAN I WATCH? WHEN IS IT?
Every year, all of the big publishers and companies hold some sort of a press conference. They used to be taped, then aired on TV channels like Spike, and are now fully available online. Increasingly there have been more and more companies holding their own pressers, but they've been pretty wildly different in terms of size and scale over the last few years.
The schedule for the live streams are here:
Sunday June 12
1 p.m. Pacific / 4 p.m. Eastern
7 p.m. Pacific / 10 p.m. Eastern
Monday June 13
9:30 a.m. Pacific / 12:30 p.m. Eastern
Also streaming on Xbox One, Xbox.com
PC Gaming Show
11:30 a.m. Pacific / 2:30 p.m. Eastern
1 p.m. Pacific / 4 p.m. Eastern
6:00 p.m. Pacific / 9 p.m. Eastern
Nintendo is a weird case this year because they opted to skip their presser. They stopped doing a big stage show a few years ago and instead did a pre-recorded video, which are always very well made and informative and fun.
But this year Nintendo will pretty much be skipping E3 entirely, and will only be doing a Tree House Live event, focusing on one game. That will begin at 9 a.m. Pacific / 12 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, June 14. You can tune into that at http://e3.nintendo.com. So unless you LOVE the Legend of Zelda, maybe just don't expect much from the Big N this year. Next year they have a new console coming out, wait until then.