EB Expo 2012: Final Verdict
OXCGN’s Report Card
by Arthur Kotsopoulos and Daniel Geikowski
©2012 Arthur Kotsopoulos and Daniel Geikowski
A whole year in the making, and did it deliver on its promise to be bigger and better than the first ever EB Expo?
I feel that it did.
However, when taking two steps forward in the right direction, the expo decided to take one backwards.
There were certain aspects of the show I felt could have either not been included or organised a little better.
It’s currently Australia’s only giant gaming expo until next year’s PAX, and it’s good to give the public a taste of what the media experience when they fly to Los Angeles for E3 or Cologne for GamesCom.
Giving them that exclusive access or treatment not only allows them to appreciate the games more, but lets them acknowledge the hard work behind them.
Here’s is OXCGN’s final verdict on this year’s EB Expo.
- The Dome, whilst still needing a bit of work, was an absolute blast to walk through. Why? Because of how spacious the two areas were. You had room to move and take photos without bumping into anyone and for a convention/expo of this size it’s definitely what you want. Plus, it was air conditioned and ventilated properly, which is always a plus!
- The PR for companies such as EA, THQ and Ubisoft to name a few, were absolutely amazing getting involved with the crowds, making sure everyone regardless of their pass got a chance to test out their games, let them talk to developers, take photos with the props and giving them free swag in the likes of posters.
- Developers walked around the show room floor taking photos with consumers, answering questions and were overall having a good time. This is what you want to see gamers interacting with the people responsible for giving us hours of entertainment.
- The EB Community hub provided a peaceful area for people to chill out and take a break from checking out all the Expo had to offer. With plenty of places to kick back, the Community Hub also provided a more personal area for various developers to hold Q&A sessions with the public. The area also had plenty of retro arcade machines and local art for people to check out.
- Ladies in Gaming Panel. Featuring TV hosts, academics and public relations members, the panelists talked about the ever changing view of women in the gaming scene. The audience were able to ask various questions in relation to women in gaming. Having studied gender in relations to games at University, I totally understood where the panelists were coming from. The session would have opened a lot of people’s minds, and given young Aussie female gamers the confidence to pursue a career in the industry. After the session, people were invited to come up and mingle with the panelists, to ask further questions and get autographs. It was an enjoyable panel that the EB Expo should continue to pursue in the future.
- Everyone loves free stuff. Nothing gets the public on a publisher’s side like something for nothing. There was a lot on offer: posters, DVDs, photos, free DLC, t-shirts and much more. The public (and media) found it virtually impossible to walk away empty handed.
- The EB Expo also saw the worldwide premiere of the Mass Effect anime movie, Paragon Lost. A must see for any Mass Effect fan, Paragon Lost tells the story of James Vega before players meet him in Mass Effect 3. By having such a unique and exclusive event, it really made the EB Expo feel like a major worldwide gaming event.
- The Homegrown Gaming Dome showcased great new up-and-coming games from local indie developers. This not only gave budding developers the ability to expose their games to the public, but also demonstrated to the public how they themselves could pursue a career in video games. There was increased information on a vast number of games courses people could take, as well. The Dome also showcased a variety of E-Sports, which included FIFA ’13, StarCraft 2, Halo, and various fighting games.
- Cosplay is always a major highlight of any gaming convention. It grants people the opportunity to dress up as their favorite game/anime/movie character. This year was no different. There were some outstanding Cosplay costumes that are detailed in OXCGN’s Cosplay Gallery. People were really friendly, and were more than happy to pose for a photo or two. People were also supportive of each other and their costume efforts, which builds a sense of belonging and community within the gaming scene.
- A wide variety of playable titles that were available at each publishers’ booths, with lines generally short, and a few being the ones you would have to wait an hour or more for. There were RPGs, shooters, racers, sports titles, fighers, motion control games… you name it, it was there.
- I felt that the opening presentation was a waste of time and effort. During the twenty minutes it ran, three large projector sheets were hanging at the front with two trucks with ramps on the back of them blocking 3/4 of each screen. Whilst we watched a retrospective of games over the last decade, we were treated to dancers on the stage at the same time. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to look at: the games, or the female dancers that weren’t exactly enthusiastic about being there.
- Incorrect media badges. From incorrect spelling to randomly named websites no one had heard of, our media badges were all over the place. For an event that notifies you weeks in advance I would have personally assumed the media badges would have the correct spelling.
- Some booths seemed to have some very uneducated EB staff which questions such as “How do I turn on the console? being an extremely strange one at that. It’s not something you’d want to hear especially if this sales person is supposed to sell you a game.
- The constant annoyance of EB staff asking us (members of the press) to pre-order every game we played was quite frustrating. I understand you’re trying to sell a product, but please let me enjoy the time I have with an unreleased title first.
- The PA announcers could have turned down the volume a bit because you really did get a headache when they decided to blurt out information.
- While I wasn’t affected by this, all consumers were forced to leave the pavilions during the Intermissions. While people who held Ultimate and Express Gamer passes could line up outside the pavilion to head back in after the break, people with multi-passes had to leave the Olympic Park venue, only to re-enter through the gates to line up again. This took far too long to get everyone out, just to shuffle people back in. A more streamlined method needs to be introduced at the next Expo.
- I understand why EB would make various types of tickets available from a business sense, and I can see how consumers would find various tickets appealing. However, during the Expo’s operation, the various tickets led to some disorganization. The various tickets also made it hard for developers and PR. EB Expo needs standardization across the board. Some booths let Express Gamers go straight into playing, while others were forced to wait.
Whilst there may have not been enough draw for media to attend with the likes of new content or announcements, the biggest draw I feel was the ability to mingle with developers of your favourite titles.
It was bigger in every way compared to last year’s, and the fact it will be in Sydney for the next two years means it will continue to grow and certain problems will be worked upon and hopefully resolved at the next show.
It will be interesting to see how the EB Expo will perform next year when PAX Ausralia hits down under for the first time, as it will definitely have new code for many titles as well as developers talking about their games.
Will consumers who go to PAX Ausralia want to spend more money to attend the EB Expo, which will have code already showcased at the former’s event? Only time will tell.
©2012 Arthur Kotsopoulos and Daniel Geikowski
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