Unless you are brand new to this site, there is a good chance you will already know that I attended the EB Games Expo as a representative of The Otaku’s Study for all three sessions. As this is the first year the event was held, having originally been an internal event for managers, there were always going to be problems arising that would be identified and fixed in future events – however I must say I enjoyed myself immensely, and would consider attending next year.
The Purpose of the Event
The first thing that I feel they needed to make clear is that unlike an expo such as E3, this was not a trade expo but a consumer expo. For the most part they are one and the same with the exception that trade events are more limited and more frequently have major announcements while consumer events don’t have so many announcements but are more about having fun and showcasing already announced games that would be available over the next few months. I heard a couple of people complain about the lack of announcements, but yes – unless it was an acquisition or an announcement from an Australian company, most releases would be made at a media event such as E3 or Tokyo Game Show.
Instead of having one single session and having tens of thousands of people crowd into the one convention hall at once – EB Games split it up into three separate sessions (Saturday Day, Saturday Twilight and Sunday Day), each of which went for around seven hours each, and each limited to around 100 VIP tickets and 4000-5000ish people in total. This definitely was a wise move, as due to the already long queues for very popular titles such as Battlefield 3 et al – more people in the convention center would have caused overcrowding and a less pleasurable experience.
I decided to avoid the major titles that had large crowds, and provided that you waited an hour or two or during one of the conferences, the lines were not intolerable and there were only five to ten minute waits to check out games such as Final Fantasy XIII-2, The Nintendo, Sony and Playstation booth games and essentially anything that did not feature VIP priority entrance.
Over the course of the event, there were conferences from each Sony, Namco Bandai Partners, Bethesda, Ubisoft, THQ and EA. It was sort of disappointing to see that other companies such as Nintendo, Microsoft, Warner Bros Games et cetera did not decide to hold a conference, however that may have been due to the time limitations imposed by the three sessions. There was a mixed offering in each of them – From John McLaughlin of Xdev bringing the only Playstation Vita in the Southern Hemisphere to show off LittleBigPlanet and tease the upcoming game Reality Fighter, to a playthrough of an Assassins Creed Revelations level from Ubisoft. Some of the content was pretty boring, namely showing off trailers that have already been seen – but these still offered some new incite into the games they were showing off.
In the end, even if everything else was good, if the floor isn’t good then attending would be a waste of time. Thankfully, while it could have used more space and perhaps a few more publishers and consoles, I think all the companies did a good job at showing off their titles and/or wares. Most of the booths featured at least 2-4 games and the staff seemed very enthusiastic about interacting with their consumers. There were a few highlights of the floor to me, these included:
- The Ubisoft Just Dance 3 Booth – Almost non-stop dancing over the three sessions, featuring a number of staff with dancing talent and perhaps more importantly, the cosplayers and attendees who chose to take part in the event.
- The Cosplay – Okay, not necessarily about the booths but as every session passed, even more and more of the attendees seemed to cosplay everything from the pedobear, to a raving rabbid to more specific characters such as Elise from Tales of Xillia and Count Waltz from Eternal Sonata (My two favorites from the expo).
- The Range – While we were not able to check out the Wii U for example or have the range as the events held in America, there was a strong lineup of games ranging from the big AAA titles such as Mass Effect 3, Halo, Modern Warfare and so forth, many family games including Disneyland Adventures, Once Upon a Monster, Disney Universe – all of which cater the G – PG crowd and finally all the games in between. Generally, this is Australia’s only mainstream public gaming event, I doubt many of us would be overly fussy – but they pulled it off well.
- The VIP System – Okay, I can understand that people who pay more money should get more extras – but the fact that a number of AAA games such as Halo and I believe the new Modern Warfare game were limited only to VIP members – which in my opinion resulted in many disappointed gamers who may have attended the event expecting to play them.
- Changes to Playability – This was only present in one or two cases, however from memory this holds true to Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Lollipop Chainsaw. I am not sure if Skyrim was initially supposed to be playable or not however there was a curtained off booth for VIP members which led to a trailer instead of what may be implied as a playable version of the game. Lollipop Chainsaw on the other hand was supposed to be playable, however apparently deemed too inappropriate for those under the age of 15 who may have come into contact with it – therefore was reduced to a trailer.