On Saturday we spent the day at the Eurogamer Expo in Earl’s Court, London. Every year it’s real treat for gamers as a chance to not only play games from the next few months, but also to hear directly from developers and ingratiate themselves in gamer culture. This year was no different, with some huge titles on show and some pretty fantastic developer sessions and cosplay. Individual game previews will come soon but for now, just a word on the event itself.
The Expo seems to have grown dramatically over the last few years and while it lacks the announcements that E3 and Gamescom can boast of, the titles on the show floor are quickly rivalling the big-hitters. Despite the increase in size, queuing seemed more manageable than before, with two seperate queues for press and early-entry ticket holders on one side and normal ticket holders on the other. If you do come in future you’re going to want to get in early if you want a full day there. We turned up just after 10AM (the entry time for early entry) and both queues were looking pretty full.
The entry process was seamless as ever, with a few bag checks etc before you go in to collect your (highly polished) programme and guide. The programme is more than just a list of times, it contains maps and information on most of the games, as well as a number of adverts and a few vouchers. The printing quality is up there with Edge magazine, a little thing but it does give the event a certain prestige when the tickets are so cheap.
The show floor is seperated out into a general and an over-18 section, although we did spot some little tykes running around where they shouldn’t be. Most games have between 8 and 24 consoles/ PCs set up and for many of the smaller games you can just walk right up and play on them. Unfortunately nearly all of the big titles this year (Halo 4, the Wii U, Black Ops 2, Assassins Creed 3, Aliens:Colonial Marines) had queues in excess of an hour, which severely limits the number of games you can get a hands-on with. It is also surprisingly hard to see what you’re playing a game on. Whilst PS3 titles are obvious, many of the games that were using 360 controllers were actually running on PC. For some reason the platforms were not expressly indicated.
There’s also much swag to be had, and we ended up getting a couple of decent t-shirts as well as the aforementioned magazine and a beta access code for Company of Heroes 2. There was much more about with Playstation Plus 3 month subscriptions being given out as well as a whole host of other prizes at various booths.
In general the expo was set up incredibly well this year. There’s always an issue with queuing but it’s hard to imagine a solution to this. There is no real room for more consoles, and they need to keep the whole thing financially viable. If you want to play all the games, I strongly suggest getting tickets for two or more days. There are also other standard issues with incredibly expensive food and water, which is to be expected in these kinds of venues. One unfortunate part of the gamer scene is still the terrible stench that follows it. Please be considerate and bring some deodorant to the event, it is hot and sweaty in there and a few too many people in queues had been neglecting their personal hygiene.
We had a good time, and we got to see a lot of fantastic games. I can only hope that the success of the expo encourages the bigger players in the industry to take note and treat Eurogamer as importantly as it does E3 and Gamescom. It’d be nice to not have to leave the country to see the glitzy shows.