Sponsors Form Subnation to Bring More Cultural Experiences to E3

A group of sponsors for this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) banded together to create new spectacles for the evolving conference. Volkswagen, Capital Group, and Big Block created Subnation to produce live performances and other cultural experiences during and after E3.

Seven Volpone, CEO of Big Block, describes Subnation as an “omnichannel media platform.” It represents all the things gamers like in addition to gaming – their music, art, and culture. DeadMau5 is the headline act for Subnation Live, the first official E3 afterparty.

Before 2017, E3 was strictly an industry event. Members of the press were the closest publishers and game makers could get to meet with fans. That all changed last year when the exhibition opened up 15,000 tickets to non-press consumers and fans. As a result, the show attracted even more industry professionals and press and sold 68,000 tickets.

This year, E3 built on that momentum by encouraging the Subnation spectacle. For Big Block and other sponsors, it offers an opportunity to connect their brand with expressions of gaming culture and lifestyle.

Volpone, who worked in the music business before getting into esports, compares the current rate of growth in esports and gaming to the rise of rap music in the '80s. What began with a small but influential group of urban influencers quickly spread through all reaches of media. Rap culture quickly became intertwined with fashion, street art, and other lifestyle trends.

He believes esports presents a much higher opportunity for brands because the games have already expanded beyond the early adopters, the PC players.

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