ESA confirms supersized E3 2009

"Upgraded" trade show returns to LACC in June with larger booths, larger crowds; show still closed to the public.

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The E3 Media & Business Summit is dead; long live E3. The Entertainment Software Association today officially announced the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo will take place June 2-4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

While the show won't be open to the public (contrary to a Newsweek report earlier this week and prior rumors), the ESA said the event "will welcome all qualified computer and video game industry audiences," including media, developers, analysts, and retailers. Booth sizes will also be increased, which should come as a welcome change to companies stifled by the 20-foot-by-20-foot maximum and standardized layouts imposed on attendees over the last two years.

After soaring past the 60,000 attendee mark in 2006, E3 was downsized and relocated when certain members of the ESA took exception to the size and spectacle of the event. The redubbed E3 Media and Business Summit was moved to Santa Monica for 2007 and consisted of an invite-only crowd of roughly 5,000.

After a rocky start, the show was moved back to the LACC this year, but it remained a small-scale event that drew criticism from industry heavyweights like Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello and Ubisoft North America president Laurent Detoc. Riccitiello said he hated to see such a stripped-down E3, while Detoc said the show was terrible, and felt "like a pipe-fitters show in a basement."

The plan for a reinvigorated E3 appears to have won both Riccitiello and Detoc over, as the ESA included comments from both in its press release announcing the show plans. Riccitiello is quoted as saying E3 2009 will be "the pre-eminent North American gaming show" next year, while Detoc promised fireworks and said the tweaks to the show "will ensure that the 2009 E3 Expo conveys the best of what makes us proud as entertainment leaders."

For more on the event, check out GameSpot's complete coverage of this year's E3 Media & Business Summit.

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