SEGA was instrumental to setting up E3, in an interview with Tom Kalinske (former CEO of SEGA America) he had this to say about the formation of E3:
In the early Nineties, CES was huge but it treated the gaming industry poorly. We were put in the back, past the new gadgets, computers and stereos and TVs. One year, we were in a tent and it was raining. Out Genesis machines got wet and I said, “That’s it, we’re not coming Back”. We set out to form our own show with favoured third-parties. It became E3. 1
E3 1995 marked the first E3 event, created as an alternative to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) where the gaming industry was often overlooked.
At E3 1995, the gaming industry was undergoing significant changes, with the Super Nintendo still the most popular console in North America but with new hardware on the horizon, such as Sega Saturn, Sony PlayStation, and the yet-to-be-released Ultra 64 (later Nintendo 64). This event was mainly focused on the Sega-Sony rivalry, with Nintendo’s console release delayed until the following year.
E3 1995 consisted of exhibits and presentations, but unlike modern E3 events, there were no livestreams, special guest stars, or musical performances. The target audience was gaming industry professionals, retailers, developers, marketing teams, investors, and journalists, rather than gamers. As a result, these early E3 conferences were more subdued and focused on industry announcements rather than generating excitement among gamers.
Tom Kalinske in RETRO volume 9 (page 25) ↩