Electronic Arts has completely revamped its plans for the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the big video game trade show that draws tens of thousands of people — and it won’t be on the show floor.

The move could be seen as a way to get closer to fans as well as grab more of the spotlight from other companies who compete for media and industry attention at the big trade show, which takes place the week of June 12 in Los Angeles and has traditionally been gaming’s most important event for blockbusters and the studios that make them.

E3 is the place where the whole PC and console game industry goes to reveal new games for the year, drawing more than 50,000 attendees to the Los Angeles convention center. But EA will hold an event called EA Play that will run from June 12 to June 14 at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, just outside the convention center.

The publisher will also hold a one-day event on June 12 at The Mermaid Event Center in London. Sign-ups for a newsletter for more information are available now.

EA said it will still hold a press conference that will take place on Sunday, at EA Play, instead of at its usual venue on Monday. EA will have no booth at the show, but it will have private meeting rooms and be listed as an exhibitor. That will still leave a gaping hole in the convention center, as EA had a splashy booth with giant screens and lots of stations for playing games. Now it will likely entertain even more guests at the Club Nokia venue.

E3 traditionally doesn’t admit fans, as it is an industry trade show. However, the show did allow 5,000 into the event last year.

An EA spokesman said, “It’s an all-new event that puts our players first and creates a play experience built around them.  Play LA will be at Club Nokia at LA Live on June 12-14, and Play London will be at The Mermaid on June 12.  Both events will kick off with a live press conference and offer hands-on with our games, and more.”

Rich Taylor, senior vice president of communications at the Entertainment Software Association (it puts on E3) said in a statement, “EA’s player experience underscores E3 as the global launchpad for video game news, announcements, and excitement. As always, we continue to look forward to their contributions to E3 week and can’t wait to play the games ourselves.”

We’ve also asked for more explanation from EA.


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