LOS ANGELES—E3, the Entertainment Software Association’s massive video game-industry trade show, took place June 11 to 13 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The event drew more than 66,000 video game-industry professionals, investor analysts, and retailers, plus 200 exhibitors (50 of which were first-time exhibitors).
And for the third consecutive year, the show welcomed 15,000 fans, plus panels and presentations from the likes of Elon Musk, Todd Howard, Jack Black, and other prominent industry pros. There was also a 10,000-square-foot eSports zone for the second time, as well as an increased focus on highlighting women in the gaming industry.
Unsurprisingly, E3 dominated social media last week, generating more than 3.2 million conversations on Twitter, plus 1.2 million viewers who live streamed the programming. While much of that social-media buzz comes from game announcements, fans also tune in to see the fun, creative ways companies, including Epic Games, Bethesda, and Square Enix, immerse guests in their upcoming games.
Here’s a look inside some of the three-day show’s coolest booths, brand activations, and after-parties.
Epic Games’ ‘Fortnite’ Booth
Wildly popular game Fortnite once again had one of E3’s largest and most eye-catching booths, taking over a 15,000-square-foot space on the show floor. Paying homage to the game’s use of neon during season 9, design and production company FG|PG used miles of neon lighting, covering everything from shopping carts to the famous Fornite bus.
Photo: Courtesy of FGPG
Booth highlights included the “Boogie Down Stage,” which was wrapped in disco ball mirrors and featured in-game dance performances, trivia game tournaments, and appearances from cosplay characters.
Photo: Courtesy of FGPG
A social sharing activation, dubbed the “baller” green screen experience, had a custom-made ball-shape chair inspired by one of the game’s vehicles. Another immersive activity was a spinning inflatable that guests had to jump over. ( Click here to see it in action.)
“Witnessing the fans immerse themselves in the experiences we’ve worked so hard to bring to life is always a tremendous source of satisfaction,” said Freddie Georges, FGPG’s founder and C.E.O. “It inspires us to outdo ourselves each and every time.”
Photo: Courtesy of FGPG GameSpot After-Party
After hosting a Miami Vice-inspired party in 2018, GameSpot’s after-party this year had a “retro futuristic disco theme,” according to producers the Visionary Group. Located on the rooftop of the Standard Hotel, the evening event had an LED-lit disco pool, branded topiaries featuring robots and unicorns, an infinity dance floor, and a green screen photo booth.
Photo: John Metcalf
Tying into the retro theme was an oversize Lite Brite, plus LED swing sets.
Photo: John Metcalf
A photo moment for sponsor Dr Pepper featured a pair of giant headphones created from actual soda cans. Dr Pepper also hosted a Nitrogen ice cream bar.
Photo: John Metcalf Oculus Activation
Oculus’s interactive activation, produced by FG|PG, used Oculus VR headsets to demo its four video game properties. For the game Asgard’s Wrath, fans could attack a villain and then watch themselves in action through a headset. ( Click here to see the final result.)
Photo: Courtesy of FGPG Facebook Gaming Activation
Located in the main lobby of the West Hall, Facebook Gaming’s activation was designed for social shares. Produced by the Visionary Group, the installation featured three plexi-paneled structures that allowed guests to immerse themselves into game art, with options including Apex Legends, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Watchdogs Legion, and Fortnite. Guests were encouraged to share the photos on social media as part of a scavenger hunt through partnering booths.
Photo: Tiffanie Chow Twitch’s After-Party
A chandelier-like installation displayed the Twitch logo and other graphics.
Photo: Sean Paul Franget/SPF Studios
A stack of vintage televisions created an eye-catching decor piece.
Photo: Sean Paul Franget/SPF Studios GameBoks Booth
GameBoks, a portable gaming station made from wood, created an eye-catching gaming area on the show floor. SAGA Space Architects constructed the wooden lounge.
Photo: Claire Hoffman/BizBash CD Projekt Red Meeting Rooms
Video game developer CD Projekt Red centered its E3 presence around the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 game. Working with the Visionary Group for the second year, the company created three meeting rooms that immersed guests in the game’s world. The first was a bar scene that included Easter eggs from the game.
Photo: Tiffanie Chow
Additional meeting rooms included a theater where guests watched a live game demo, plus a meeting space inspired by the game’s dark atmosphere.
Photo: Tiffanie Chow Bethesda Broadcast and After-Party
Later, an after-party was held in the parking lot of the Shrine Auditorium. Also produced by Best Events, additional vendors included fabrication by Cornerstone Scenery and catering by Wolfgang Puck Catering.
Photo: Lucas Stevenson
The party included airy seating areas with white couches, hanging greenery, and neon signage. The Bethesda logo was printed on coffee tables throughout the space, which included tenting by Choura Events.
Photo: Lucas Stevenson MillerCoors Party
The event also included several gaming lounges, candy bars and popcorn stations, and a performance by DJ MissNinja.
Photo: Courtesy of Jack Morton 2K Games’ ‘Borderlands 3’ Booth
To promote the Borderlands 3 release, Gearbox Software and 2K Games created one of the more colorful booths on the show floor. Giant, wall-size screens displayed colorful graphics; other highlights included bright neon art and large statues. Banners featuring the game’s psycho mask were also placed prominently throughout the convention center.
Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for E3/Entertainment Software Association GameSpot Base Station
GameSpot also hosted a “base station” during the show, located outside the Los Angeles Convention Center. “With E3’s increased importance as a consumer show with 15,000 gamers attending, it was important for GameSpot to create unique, entertaining content specifically for that audience,” explained the Visionary Group, which also produced the space. The area included giveaways, celebrity meet-and-greets, a retro arcade, and a 70-foot eSport truck presented by Jack in the Box.
Photo: Courtesy of Esli Media Square Enix’s ‘Marvel’s Avengers’ Booth
E3 debuted the first trailer for Square Enix’s highly anticipated Marvel’s Avengers game, and the buzz was encouraged through a red, white, and blue booth on the show floor. Inside, fans could view life-size versions of the heroes’ costumes from the game.
Photo: Claire Hoffman/BizBash Capcom’s ‘Monster Hunter: World’ Booth
Capcom themed its eye-catching booth around the upcoming expansion of Monster Hunter: World. The space had a winter theme, featuring snow-covered branches plus a giant dragon statue available for photo ops.
Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for E3/Entertainment Software Association Facebook Women in Gaming Breakfast
Facebook worked with the Visionary Group for a breakfast at the JW Marriott during the convention. A partnership with Ubisoft, the event touted the social network’s efforts to bring women in the gaming industry together to share their stories and create connections. The breakfast included a “Be the Ally” panel, a fireside chat with Facebook and Oculus, and more.
Photo: Tiffanie Chow Square Enix’s ‘Final Fantasy VII Remake’ Activation
Guests entering the convention center were greeted by a photo op for the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake. Fans could pose on a futuristic motorcycle.
Photo: Claire Hoffman/BizBash Alienware Booth
PC Gaming Show
Future and PC Gamer hosted the PC Gaming Show during E3 for the fifth consecutive year. Held at the Mayan Theater and simultaneously live streamed on Twitch, the show was sponsored by Epic Games and produced by the Visionary Group. Paragon Creative Agency handled live streaming, and Hovercast created on-screen graphics.
Photo: Jorge Solorzano