E3 2017 news: E3 now open to the public; tickets to go on sale starting Feb. 13

(Reuters/Jonathan Alcorn)People walk past the Playstation and Xbox booths at the 2014 edition of E3.

This year's edition of the "Electronic Entertainment Expo" (E3) will be open to the public for the first time in history.

Event organizer Entertainment Software Association (ESA) made the announcement last Wednesday, saying that 15,000 tickets were allotted to the public who would want to participate and get a much closer view of the action. Ticket sales go on sale starting on Monday, Feb. 13, in Los Angeles, California.

Ticket prices are pegged at $250, but an early bird offer of $150 will be available on Feb. 13. Ticketholders will gain access to the actual show floor and to activities like panel discussions from Tuesday through Thursday, among others.

According to a report from gaming website Gamespot, ESA is set to partner with Geoff Keighley, a games media veteran, in providing guest access to his own E3 programming that includes interviews with game developers.

Meanwhile, ESA's senior vice president of communications Rich Taylor acknowledged the longstanding public clamor for a much closer public participation in the E3 annual extravaganza. "The feedback we heard was clear--they wanted to play the games inside the convention center," said Taylor in an interview with Gamespot. "In addition, exhibitors inside the convention center wanted to have access to the fans. So this year we're bringing the two together," he added.

It was also reported that ESA conducted an experiment last year during E3 2016 by organizing an E3 live event that they made open to the public. "It's a changing industry, and E3 has always evolved to meet industry needs and anticipate where we're heading together--as an event, as an industry, and as fans. The decision to open our doors to 15,000 fans was a strategic decision. It is thanks to our members and their vision and leadership that made this possible," Taylor added.

Meanwhile, Paste Magazine reported that EA released a promotional video on YouTube for the Consumer Passes, informing the public of its limited availability. Apart from the standard passes, business passes will also be made available for those who wish to gain access to a business lounge and preferred entry to the venue, the Los Angeles Convention Center.