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Feature Article

E3's Ups And Downs: A History Before The 2019 Show

E3 dates back to 1995--here's how it's changed.

E3 might not be the biggest video game event in the world in terms of size or attendance, but it's far and away the year's most anticipated games show for a variety of reasons. That's still true this year, even though E3 2019 set to be quite different. As per usual, the annual event takes place in Los Angeles, California in just a few days' time, where we're expecting a variety of game reveals, trailer debuts, and news--even if Sony won't be there.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo has existed since 1995, and over the last two-plus decades, it has solidified itself as the preeminent video game trade show. Developers and publishers typically reserve their biggest reveals for E3; everything from the PS3's infamously high price to the Final Fantasy VII Remake was announced at past E3s. This has begun to change in recent years, as an increasing number of other events--like Nintendo Directs and PSX--have sprouted up at other points in the year.

But dramatic changes to the expo are not a recent phenomenon. Originally conceived as an event for developers and publishers to meet with press and retailers, the scale and purpose of the event has shifted, with an increasing emphasis on serving the public. Back in 2007, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) dramatically downsized E3, and for two years it was home to decidedly less exciting showings. 2009 saw E3 revert back to something closer to its original scale, and it's continued to expand since.

E3 2019 is just around the corner, taking place from June 11-13, with a slate of press conferences in the days prior. In the video above, we take a look back at the long history of the show and how we got to where it is today. Beyond the historical side, you can also enjoy some of the many unintentional memes that have emerged from E3, from giant enemy crabs to overcaffeinated spokespeople.

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Chris Pereira

Chris Pereira is GameSpot's engagement editor. He likes Twin Peaks, The X-Files (before it was bad), and serial commas.

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