E3 2010: The IGN FAQ

Everything you've ever wanted to know about gaming's biggest spectacle.

May 3, 2010 -
Every year, the videogame industry converges in Los Angeles, Calif., for the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo. Part tradeshow and part rampageous marketing orgy, E3 is both the zenith and nadir of the gaming calendar. On the plus side, tons of amazing games are show publicly for the first time. On the minus side, we typically lose between two and four editors each year in the confusion.
For us, E3 is such an immutable part of the videogame product cycle that we take its existence for granted. But we realize that most people (for better or worse) will never see the inside of the Los Angeles convention center. You have questions, we have answers. So we put together the most frequently asked E3 questions and answered them as best we could here. As with all FAQs, the most interesting questions probably have yet to be asked. So if you have an E3 query we didn't answer here, let us know! Follow IGN on Twitter and reply with a question, with the hash tag #E3IGN in your post. We'll respond to the most common questions and add our answers to the FAQ.
What is it?
When is it?
Where is it?
How do I watch?
How does it work?
Why is that man naked?
What's important?
Who goes to E3?
Can I go?
What is E3?
E3 is an annual videogame tradeshow that, in its current incarnation, is attended by developers, publishers, media, retailers, distributors and other groups tied to the industry. The purpose of the show is to connect all those groups and share information about what games will be available over the course of the next one or two years. Also, there are a lot of parties.
What does E3 stand for?
Electronic Entertainment Expo. Get it? Because there are three Es…
When is E3?
The show is always held in the summer, but the exact dates change from year to year. E3 2010 will take place from June 15-17 (Tuesday – Thursday), but unofficial E3 activities can begin as early as the Sunday beforehand and can stretch into the following weekend. Additionally, publishers such as Electronic Arts hold annual "Pre-E3" events for media in the weeks leading up to the show. It's a chance for us to spend quality time with games away from the crush of the convention crowd.
Where is E3 held?
Traditionally, E3 is held at the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown L.A. It's done brief stints in Atlanta, Ga., and Santa Monica, Calif., but this will be the show's third straight year back at its ancestral L.A. home. But while the LACC is home to the show itself, the big publishers usually hold their press conferences at nearby venues. Sony's E3 2010 press conference, for example, will be held at the Shrine Auditorium. Fun fact: the Shrine was where Michael Jackson was filming a Pepsi commercial when his hair caught on fire on 1984.
You can almost smell the sweaty controllers.
What games will be there this year?
As usual, there's going to be a flood of game announcements at this year's E3. Later in the week, we'll be putting up a massive list of everything we know about so far. Stay tuned!
Who goes to E3?
The event used to be more of a free-for-all, and it's also seen periods of tight restriction. The current format is industry-only, but the list is less exclusive that it has been in the recent past. Tens of thousands of people will attend E3 this year, and only about 50 of them will wear deodorant.
Can I go to E3?
If you're connected to the videogame industry, chances are good. If not, then it's probably not gonna happen. And no, you can't get a ride with us. Our car is full. For more information about who's eligible to attend the show, check out the official E3 site.
My little brother and I have a gaming blog. Can we go?
Depends. Click here to try your luck. Keep your little brother away from Sunset Boulevard.
Oh, also, I'm 16.
Then forget about it.
I can sneak in, right? How hard can it be?
Used to be a lot easier. Don't waste a trip. The badge checkers don't mess around.
Is that naked guy going to be there again?
How did you even hear about that guy? And yes. We like to imagine that he's always walking around the streets of downtown Los Angeles, just waiting for us to go eat dinner so he can be naked in front of us again. Man, why did you bring that up? Gross.
Now imagine it without the red bar.
Who puts E3 together?
E3 is produced by the Entertainment Software Association, a professional organization of videogame publishers. The ESA also runs the Entertainment Software Rating Board, which is responsible for rating games.
How long has it been going on?
The first E3 was held in L.A. in 1995. Before that, new games were shown at the annual Consumer Electronics Show is Las Vegas, Nev. The first E3 is special because it marked Sony's entrance to the videogame market with the PlayStation. The Neo-Geo CD was also there. Only $500!
How many E3s has IGN covered?
IGN was officially formed in 1997 (although the beginnings were there a couple years earlier), which means IGN has covered twelve E3s. We did take a break during World War II, but it was a time of great sacrifice.
How are E3 awards determined?
Every year, IGN honors the best games of the show with E3 awards. Editors nominate games they've seen as the show progresses, a list is formed, and then we vote on the best titles in multiple categories. Keep in mind that what we see are unfinished products, and we only see what publishers want us to see. So it's quite possible that games we're blown away by at E3 won't hold up as well a year later. What we're really saying with our E3 awards is, "Your demo blew us away. We can't wait to see more!"
What do the IGN editors do at E3?
We play games. A lot of games. And when we're not playing games, we're interviewing developers about their games. And when we're not doing that we're sitting in auditoriums listening to PR people tell stories about their vacations. And when we're not doing that we're staying out until the wee hours attending industry events to see more games and talk to whoever looks interesting. And then the writing starts. So much writing. And then, at some point, we all go out as a group and sing karaoke.
IGN Editor Levi Buchanan sings for his supper. Seriously, we wouldn't let him eat until he sang a Duran Duran song.
What is the 'War Room'?
Our IGN office-away-from-home. During the show, we rent out a nearby space and work from there for days on end, stopping only to pick up cans of Red Bull to see if there might be any vodka inside. This is where we write, make phone calls, update the site and scrawl unprintable things on giant whiteboards.
What is the 'show floor' and what goes on there?
The show floor refers to the exhibition halls of the L.A. Convention Center. There are hundreds of thousands of square feet of display space at the show, and publishers like Activision, SEGA, Square Enix, Microsoft and Take-Two pay top dollar to rent it out and display their games. The convention center show floor is packed with flashing lights, giant video screens, and elaborate demo stations. Some of the bigger publishers also have makeshift meeting rooms built into the center of their areas for private meetings.
Gamers waited for hours for a chance to play SparkSoar Fantasia: Rise of the Melifluous Kobolds.
What happens at 'behind closed doors' meetings?
These are generally by invitation/appointment only, and it's a chance for publishers and developers to show their games to media (and sometimes one another) without the distraction of the show floor. These meetings are often held when a game isn't quite ready for a completely public viewing. Developers and many journalists are more used to seeing games in unfinished states than some other segments of the E3-going population. That's why some developers are more inclined to show early versions of games this way.
What are booth babes, and will they be at E3?
We refer to them as modeling engineers, and they are hired by publishers to stand in front of their "booths," look pretty and sometimes hand out flyers. They're a bit of a holdover from the CES days, and they were actually banned for a spell. They're back, but not in the numbers they once were.
Still in the running towards becoming E3's Next Top Models.
How can I watch the show?
Every year, we broadcast live from the E3 show floor. It's the best place to see live demos – by the developers themselves – of the hottest games of the show. In 2009, we showed you Halo 3: ODST, Forza 3, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Assassin's Creed 2, God of War III, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Uncharted 2, Mass Effect 2 and tons more. When we're not showing live demos, we're broadcasting the biggest press conferences, straight to your computer in streaming video.
When will I be able to watch it?
It starts on the afternoon of June 15 and runs through June 17, all three days of the show. When we're not running live segments, we'll be re-running the best demos and conferences, just in case you missed something. And some of the segments will be archived soon thereafter, so you can watch many of the best demos at your leisure.
I have harpsichord practice. What should I do?
Stay up as late as possible every night during E3 and watch our Live Show. Catch up on what you missed later in the week as the archives go up. Seriously, you don't want to miss anything.
When is the press conference for my favorite game company?
As of this writing, here are the confirmed E3 press conference dates and times:
Monday, June 14, 10:00 a.m. PST – Microsoft
Monday, June 14, 5:00 p.m. PST – Ubisoft
Tuesday, June 15, 11:30 a.m. PST – Sony
Tuesday, June 15, Time TBD – Nintendo
More are incoming. We'll update you when we hear more.
Chocobos chocobos chocobos chocobos.
Will [insert famous game developer here] be at the show?
Yes, and he or she will surprise you by actually being a super nice guy/girl.
How often do IGN's E3 predictions come true?
Always. Unfortunately, due to a database error, all records of our past predictions have been lost.
What's the best E3?
The one you walk away from.
Put that thing away, Itagaki-san. We don't know where it's been.

You probably have a ton more E3 questions than we could possibly imagine. So don't forget to follow IGN on Twitter and hit us with your #E3IGN-tagged questions. As we get more and more, we'll update this FAQ with our E3 wisdom.

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