With massive crowds attending E3, Indie Publisher, Devolver Digital wanted to increase the size of its annual off-site event. However, after renting a lot owned by the City of Los Angeles, the city refused to grant Devolver the necessary permits to utilize their additional space. Devolver Digital co-founder, Mike Wilson claims this was the result of ESA interference to prevent the publisher from having a more visible presence across from the convention center.
In a Polygon article, Wilson is quoted as saying, “E3 does not like us being here. We’ve always had a long-standing love-hate relationship. But not in a fuck-with-us kinda way, until this year. They just started making trouble for us with the City, saying, ‘How dare you rent this space out to these renegades, blah, blah, blah.’ Obviously, they have a lot of sway with the city. Phone calls were made and threats. We were being bullied.”
When Polygon reached out to the ESA for comment they staunchly insisted that they had nothing to do with the City’s decision.
The trouble started after Devolver had already announced they would be using the space to host Indie Picnic. The free event would piggy-back off E3’s traffic and feature a massive showcase of indie games. This included a large public access area with food, music, and games.
The city denied them all necessary permits aside from vehicle parking for the additional lot. Instead of expanding, Devolver had to squeeze everything into the private lot they traditionally occupy during E3. Due to the restrictions placed by the City, Devolver couldn’t store gear or functional equipment on their rented lot during the event. “They assigned us a special asshole to make sure we did not do one thing,” said Wilson.
The Greatest Show On Earth
Devolver Digital is no stranger to antagonizing the ESA. This year’s wildly popular satrical E3 conference mocked traditional game industry presentations. Wilson has shared Devolver’s plans to host an alternative fan festival next year in Austin. An event he says would “really showcase our indie friends.” This could give credence to an unidentified source who told Polygon that Wilson was just seeking publicity with his claims.
Polygon was unable to confirm Wilson’s claims with the city’s media department. The article did note that it was entirely possible that the city had valid reasons for denying the permits. Reasons that may not have anything to do with the ESA’s supposed influence.