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The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) has been canceled, however Los Angeles Comic Con plans to expand its gaming expo and experiences for fans coming to the show from December 1 to December 3.
It’s not going to replace gaming’s corporate event that was E3. But it should be a big fan show, because last year the show attracted 200 exhibitors and 126,000 visitors, including 87,000 who visited the gaming experience.
Chris DeMoulin, CEO of show producer Comikaze Entertainment, said in an interview with GamesBeat that the major event plans to expand its Gaming & Anime Hall to approximately 200,000 square feet in the Los Angeles Convention Center’s West Hall.
“We try to change our content every year based on what our fans want,” said DeMoulin. “We were planning to expand anyway.”
And in recent years, the fans wanted to see more gaming and anime content. COVID-2019 slowed the event’s growth, but it returned to the convention center in 2021 and started growing again.
“I have been a fan of v3 for a long time. And I was really looking forward to seeing what Reedpop was going to do with it,” he said. “That show had to be reinvented. When they said they weren’t doing anything, we said there would probably be a lot of companies exhibiting that couldn’t right now. So let’s let them know we have a great gaming event at LA Comic Con.”
The LA Comic Con is now Los Angeles’ biggest gaming event, assuming E3 is over for good. And it will expand the experience with a host of more gaming-related content on the West Hall Gaming stage, including the creators, influencers and voice-over actors behind these experiences.
Last year, Comic Con held a League of Legends tournament on the stage. Last year’s LA Comic Con had about 16,000 square feet of exhibitors in the West Hall, and so it was a small fraction of the potential gaming crowd.
“The fan feedback and exhibitor response from Gaming & Anime has been so positive in 2022 that we had no choice but to expand our offerings,” said DeMoulin. “While we were all disappointed to learn that E3 will not be returning to LA this year, we wanted to remind fans and game exhibitors that LA Comic Con now offers the largest and best video game offerings, activations, creators and talent for passionate game fans in the region. We are excited to help gaming companies put their products in front of thousands of those fans in 2023, which will see us double the size of our Gaming & Anime space. With continued fan support, there is no limit to how big this can get.
In 2022, LA Comic Con hosted more than 100 new vendors occupying more than 100,000 square feet in the Los Angeles Convention Center’s West Hall, home to its gaming and anime attractions. The event featured a free-play gaming space for participants with competitive offers, while also providing a platform for exhibitors, publishers, game developers and artists in the gaming and anime industries.
The nice thing about LA that’s different from other markets is that LA has all the fandom here and there’s a location in the convention center where we can address everything and make the experience special for gamers, DeMoulin said.
Just ahead of The Game Awards on December 8, game companies can still get in front of consumers at LA Comic Con as the show continues to be a premier event in the gaming industry.
Of course, you can expect a fan to be very different from E3. The 2022 Comic Con show provided guests with a pop-cultural wonderland of interactive experiences, panel discussions, book signings, photo ops, dance performances, cosplay contests, sponsor activations, anime and gaming activities (and more). There were probably a lot more cosplayers too.
This year, DeMoulin wants to target more fans. He will do this with a larger footprint in the convention center.
“At our 2022 show, we had the biggest turnout we’ve ever had, and we had the biggest square footage we’ve ever had,” said DeMoulin. “The nice thing about our expansion to the West Hall is that we now have so much space that we can expand the show even further.”
E3 tried to save itself in recent years by adding more fans to the audience, in addition to the traditional business-to-business audience. Asked if LA Comic Con would try to draw more gaming business crowds, DeMoulin said it’s a good question.
“How do you use the approximately 130,000 fans for three days to promote your upcoming game?” DeMoulin said. “If you’re a consumer-facing games company, how would you benefit from this?”
Of course, Reedpop still hosts its PAX gaming fan shows and will probably have another one in September in Seattle and another Comic Con in San Diego. But DeMoulin doesn’t think Comic Cons in different cities really compete with each other.
“If you look at a fan show’s audience, 80% to 90% of them come within 50 to 75 miles of a venue,” he said.
“This is really about giving the IP owners and game companies a chance to connect with fans in LA,” he said. “We are going to bring 130,000 to 140,000 really passionate fans to LA. And this is your chance to connect with them.”
He thinks the timing works well as game companies want to show off the games they launch in the fourth quarter.
The expo had a preview area for upcoming games and an indie game area featuring The Mix. There were mainstage panels with creators, voice actors and talent from games.
“It’s meant to be a fun mix of all the different things you like about gaming,” he said. “I think you’ll see we have a great lineup of gaming stuff and anime stuff. It’s pretty much anything you’re going to see anywhere in the country.”
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