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E3 drew more than 68,400 industry professionals and video game fans

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The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) drew more than 68,400 industry professionals and fans this week to the Los Angeles Convention Center.

That number included more than 15,000 fans, who were allowed inside the sprawling convention center for the first time. Millions more around the world watched the event on the Internet and TV, according to the trade group that puts on the show, the Entertainment Software Association.

And yes, with the consumers in the queues this time, it was crowded. On Thursday, the audience thinned a bit. But the ESA had to open the show floor early each day to dissipate the crowds waiting to get into the vast halls. Our crew of GamesBeat staffers has been here all week, and we’re all surviving.

More than 2,000 products were showcased by 293 exhibitors, including more than 120 exhibitors with virtual reality products. The ESA also revealed that next year’s E3 will take place June 12-14, 2018, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

“E3 2017 was a huge success. The advancements in technology unveiled at E3 will redefine and drive worldwide growth of the most meaningful form of entertainment on the planet,” said Mike Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA, in a statement. “Congratulations to our innovative exhibitors, members, and partners and to the millions of gamers who celebrated a spectacular E3 with us.”

Tens of thousands of E3 attendees participated in the new E3 Coliseum, connecting directly with leading figures like Hideo Kojima, Jack Black, Tim Schafer, Ed Boon, and Randy Pitchford. The E3 Coliseum streamed worldwide as well, allowing millions of video game fans at home to watch and ask panelists questions via a unique partnership with Facebook.

The ESA said the show also shattered social media records from previous years, generating 15 million E3-related posts across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, according to the most recent data available this morning. In addition, tens of millions of gamers watched more than 5.5 million hours of E3 content on Twitch, the official streaming partner of E3.

Also announced Thursday during E3, a panel of industry professionals and experts selected Ringling College of Art and Design’s Phonetica as winner of the 2017 E3 College Game Competition.

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