#Fearless4Friday: E3 – What to Expect When Working the Biggest Show in Video Games

There are two types of people in the world: Those who know what E3 is and those who don’t. For those who don’t, here’s a quick snapshot that gets to the heart of what this exciting gathering is all about.

E3, or Electronic Entertainment Expo, is a three-day video game industry trade show that gathers the field’s most worthy gladiators, developers and publishers to duke it out under one great, big gaming coliseum (also known as the Los Angeles Convention Center). In short, E3 is where video gaming companies go big. From game announcements to console wars and technological advances to killer parties --- this is where the video game industry goes peacocking.

With three E3 notches on my belt, I like to consider myself somewhat of a veteran. While every year has its differences, you also know what to expect; and the more comfortable you get with the routine, the more fun you can make your experience. If you’ve never worked an E3 or think there’s a chance you could in the future, here’s a rundown of what to expect.

1. Sony and Microsoft will always find a way to standoff against each other… even when neither of them have a really big announcement to make.


Last year it was all about console wars. This year it’s all about … console wars! Yes, it’s true, even a year after the great console battle of E3 2013, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One continue to go head-to-head, dominating headlines from this year’s event.

2. Swag is king.

“You got any t-shirts?” “Yo, can I get a key chain?” These are the words no one working a booth at E3 wants to hear but will undoubtedly notice on repeat over the duration of the entire three-day event. The better your booth’s swag, the better your booth’s attendance, continued promotion throughout the show floor and increased chatter across social channels. Even though E3 is technically an “industry exclusive” event, swag hoarders come in the masses and if you’re one of them, we won’t hold it against you because we know how cool it is to post swag on Instagram.


3. Showing off is essential to survival.

Similar to swag cred, a company’s booth on the show floor says a lot about what it wants to accomplish. Big booths mean big news. Mediocre booths mean you’re just checking off your boxes. Small booths mean you’re new here and looking to get your feet wet.

With such a big social media draw to E3, booths provide more photo-ops to increase their chances of ending up in the verses of Twitter and Instagram. And let’s face it --- they’re fun!




4. You will do 90 percent of your networking away from the show floor, at E3 parties.

When people ask me what my favorite part about E3 is, the answer is always, “The parties.” Why? One, I like to party. Two, my time at E3 is normally confined to a single desk where I stand on my feet all day answering people’s questions, checking-in editors for their press appointments, and running around a 10,000 sq. ft. booth looking for someone that I’m definitely not going to find. So, while a night out in Hollywood after a ten-hour day on my feet would normally not sound ideal, it’s a welcome sigh of relief when it comes to E3.

The parties of E3 are also the best places to network and meet up with other industry folks who also spend their time confined to a desk inside a 10,000 sq. ft. booth space. You’ll be surprised how many editors and colleagues you speak with on a regular basis but never actually see outside of the nine-to-five, who will be at these events,. Just make sure you leave the drink count at “a couple.” You have two whole ten-hour days of doing the same thing ahead of you.



While they may not be as cool as swag, hopefully these four takeaways provide an inside look into what it’s like to work an E3. Even if you end up being confined to your little corner of the E3 universe, it’s an experience that while chaotic, is also rewarding and albeit, fun.  Just wear comfortable shoes, have your “ready for anything” attitude in place, and game on.