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E3 Bans Backpacks, Adds Bag Checks

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Despite a sizable surge in attendance last year after selling tickets to 15,000 members of the general public, E3 2017 had some worrisome security blind spots. This year, the annual trade show-turned-circus is cracking down.

The security section of E3's website is now replete with all sorts of regulations that will hopefully make the show safer, even if they lead to some grumbling about the inconvenience of it all.


The most notable change is the inclusion of bag checks at entrances. No matter who you are—sorry, Shigeru Miyamoto—you’ll have to make time to go through metal detectors and have your belongings rifled through. If you’re not sporting a media or exhibitor badge, you won’t be allowed to lug a backpack or roller bag around. The maximum bag size for attendees with industry, VIP buyer, gamer, or business passes will be 12" x 15" x 6".


Those with gamer passes (the kind non-industry folks can buy) will also have to use different entrances than everybody else, presumably to cut down on all of last year’s traffic and avoid a rash of complaints from increasingly sweaty professionals who’ve missed their appointments. On two of E3's three days, gamer pass wearers also won’t be permitted to enter at all until a few hours after everybody else.

This year’s E3 also has a lengthy list of prohibited items, which includes a surprisingly specific list of weapons—firearms, swords, knives, daggers, maces, crushing weapons, and “actual clubs”—as well as chairs, camping stools, tripods (unless you have a media badge), drones, and of course, the greatest security hazard of all: balloons. Additionally, E3 security will be able to confiscate any “other items that show security determines may be harmful or disruptive.”

Lastly, this year’s E3 has both a dress code policy—in short, nothing that staff deem “sexually explicit” or “provocative” —and anti-harassment rules that prohibit verbal harassment, intimidation or threats, physical violence, stalking, and discrimination.

It remains to be seen whether these changes will be effective, especially in light of last year’s allegations of theft by E3 staff, ineffective security at checkpoints, and other issues. If nothing else, though, this seems to be a step in the right direction.