E3, the video game industry's annual trade show, has historically been a closed-door affair.
Initially an event where back-room deals took place, the show later evolved into a more marketing-driven affair, where big games and game systems made their debut and fans kept tabs through an onslaught of online stories and live video streams.
This year, though, the Entertainment Software Association, which hosts the show, has opened the doors to the general public. It's a move that gamers have been clamoring for — but it's not one without risk.
E3, which officially kicks off Tuesday, will welcome 15,000 enthusiasts alongside game developers, executives and media attendees. (Last year, more than 50,000 game-industry insiders attended the show.)
That's a lot of eyes and hands on demos of games that won't be complete for (at best) several months. And that, say analysts, is where the potential trouble lies.
"This is a huge risk by the industry to expose unfinished code to the enthusiast market," says P.J. McNealy of Digital World Research. "You'll have to educate everyone who come through the door that this isn't the same code and games you will see that will ship this fall. At one level, you're meeting the needs of an enthusiast segment of the market, but it comes with risks. ... It may be a worst case scenario."