EB Expo 2011 – Rundown / Report
With the first EB Games EXPO done and dusted we thought we’d give you a rundown of how it went, when it will return and what we saw whilst there. First up we should cover what happened before we even made it there. We’d registered for press passes and were turned down. No reason was given for this, other than a curt email stating all had been allocated. A friend who runs a much smaller gaming blog than the two we run told me he’d been given a pass no problem and laughed proclaiming “wow my readership is shit compared to yours, must be because you’re a girl”. Though this was said in jest, it stung and I emailed EB PR back to ask why we had not received the pass. The response came hours later in the form of an explanation that they’d ‘looked at the wrong website’ and miraculously found us two press passes. Well lucky my friend had said what he’d said, or I just wouldn’t have bothered even asking. Despite this hiccup we donned iPad, iPhones and headed to the expo.
Wow… disorganised much? That was the first impression. Given this is Australia’s first big video games EXPO there were bound to be a few hiccups. Firstly, no queuing system for picking up tickets and passes. Press passes were being given out by a woman in the same ticket book as regular passes, but it wasn’t signed in any way. We had to ask 4 EB staffers before finding someone that knew where we were to go to collect them. We then had to wait in the same ‘queue’ (well thousands of people jostling to get to the front of a mosh pit) as regular ticket pick-ups. Passes in hand time to get scanned in as we were told by the woman handing them out “over there somewhere” she stated. We eventually found the two guys doing the press pass scanning, they were talking to each other behind a barrier, backs to us and no right of way to suggest they were the press scanning guys.
Finally we made it into the arena, which at this stage only had a few hundred people milling because everyone had made their way into the main arena to watch the motocross event. Screw that, we’re here to see video games dammit, we made a beeline for the EA booth, but the guy wasn’t letting anyone in, well other than his friends it seemed, since there were a few guys in there who were not from EA and he was laughing with them when he’d shooed us away. Onto theUncharted 3 booth, got straight in and played (they had about 8 set up on different screens, single player campaign). This was fantastic, no other word for it, if it isn’t on your purchase list for next month, add it.
Back to the EB EXPO 2001 floor and a brief wander and peek at Batman: Arkham City, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, and Halo: Combat Evolved then brought us to Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. Tracy was desperate to play this, so we hopped in the queue and that’s when it all went wrong for the 4 Ubisoft guys running things. Because they had set up a multiplayer game, rather than multiple machines playing single player, they had to set up each person in the game and it kept skipping out, what should have been a 5 minute wait, saw us in the queue for over 20 minutes. Though we didn’t mind waiting, the problem was the main queue had then expanded to hundreds of people.. you do the math. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations multiplayer played well, though the play area was fairly confined.
Why are there no images of the games we had planned to bring you? Well most of the big games we wanted to report on had stickers on the monitors stating strictly no photography. I realise this was not down to the EB EXPO 2011, but more likely the publishers wishes. This was a bit of a fail really because a picture speaks a thousand words as they say.
All the big names were at the EB EXPO 2011, including: EB (obviously), they had a store right in the centre of the arena, Nintendo, EA, Turtlebeach, 2K, Activision, Bethesda, Konami, Plantronics, Playstation, PopCap, Capcom, Bluemouth, Disney Interactive, Logitech, AR Drone, Warner Bros, THQ, Square Enix, Xbox 360, SEGA and then some.
The next EB Expo is apparently moving down to Sydney next year. As this was the first EB EXPO there were bound to be teething issues. From a visitor standpoint, here are a few things that should be sorted before the next one:
Organization / Correct signage / A better queuing system
And separating off the press pass pick-up from the regular ticket pickup. Also with thousands of people queuing, might be a better idea than to have just 3 ticketing officers and another 6 or 8 EB people milling around chatting to one another.
Allow photos to be taken
Seriously, people are going to take them ANYWAY (well we didn’t, but you can bet quite a few other people did). Readers like to see photos rather than long drawn out explanations. The images will end up online anyway, so rather than crippling the press with the no photos / video on almost EVERY game, sort that out.
Have more than two tills in the EB store. This makes sense from a queuing perspective and a sales perspective. The queue to get into the EB EXPO EB store was insanely long and once in there it was testosterone hell and two tills and only one of them manned? That’s just crazy talk. Smaller queues and more money for EB with a bigger store, more tills and staff who are actually doing something, other than once more talking to EACH OTHER would be good.
You know, a lot of things were wrong with the EB EXPO 2011, but despite all of that EB has to be commended for bringing something like this to Australian shores. Overall the space was great (though it could have been bigger obviously), there were loads of publishers / companies there and some really helpful staff. I know there are naysayers saying the EB EXPO 2011 was merely a marketing exercise for EB, but be that true or false, the fact is Aussie’s just don’t get to see video games prior to release often, certainly not in a hands-on manner. Sure some of the organisation sucked, but this was a huge event and the first one of its kind, taking that into consideration, the EB EXPO 2011 worked well and one can only assume, the next one will be even better. Well done EB Games on bringing something that Australia was crying out for, our own games expo.