Microsoft has announced that it won’t be occupying its usual giant stand in the Los Angeles Convention Center at this year’s E3 Show.
Instead, following a precedent set in recent years by Electronic Arts, it will host its own self-contained show in the Microsoft Theater, situated in LA Live just across the road from the Convention Centre in downtown LA. It will also hold its press conference there, moving that from the Galen Center on the University of Southern California campus. Its press conference will take place on Sunday June 10 at 1pm Pacific Time.
Microsoft announced the move in a post on Xbox Wire, saying: “With the evolution of E3, now including fans and extended show hours, we saw an opportunity to create an entirely new show experience reaching E3 attendees and those that are following the show from afar.” While that represents an attempt to put a positive spin on the move, it will surely leave the E3 organisers wondering whether they did the right thing by allowing access to members of the public, a move which was initiated at last year’s show.
At least anyone attending E3 will be able to access the Microsoft Theater: the company said it will host: “Various Xbox FanFest activities, hands-on gameplay and demos for all E3 attendees and more.”
There will be a Microsoft presence of sorts within the main show – the Seattle company will still have a booth there dedicated to Mixer, its Twitch competitor. It said: “We’ll also continue to have a meaningful presence at the LACC with a new booth completely dedicated to Mixer, where you can play, stream and interact with games and catch the latest E3 news live throughout the entire week.”
E3 remains the biggest show on the games industry’s calendar, but that status is by no means immutable. In 2007 and 2008, it was downsized and move to a selection of venues in Santa Monica, where it was poorly attended and seemed to be heading to oblivion. But it subsequently returned to the Los Angeles Convention Center and reclaimed its crown. The decision to admit members of the public in 2017 led to concerns about congestion on the show floor, and that may have been a factor behind Microsoft’s decision to move out.