Here in the UK, there aren’t really many opportunities to attend full-on gaming exhibitions like E3,PAX, TGS or even Gamescom. Any gaming presence in an exhibition environment would usually be piggybacking off another convention, such as London/Manchester MCM expo, Hyper japan or London Film & Comic Con, and very few exhibitions or conventions dedicated entirely to gaming. The Eurogamer Expo started a few years ago and has gotten considerably larger each year. This year, it took place at Earl’s Court, a venue almost double the size of the previous Eurogamer Expo. After attending a few of the previous events, and visiting the Eurogamer Expo this weekend. I think that it may be the UK’s best gaming convention so far.
This year at EGXP, dozens of developers had some of the most anticipated releases of this and next year on show, with some of the major ones being games like Battlefield 3, Skyrim, Star Wars the Old Republic and Final Fantasy XIII-2. Once inside, you’d see the wide open space inside Earl’s Court filled with a sea of booths, each one plastered with giant banners, demoing games on amazing 32″ & 46″ LCD TVs. Most of the games at EGXP were surprisingly easy to get onto, without having to wait in a queue for too long, except for the major booths.
At the OnLive area, this was where a large portion of the attendees spent anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours taking part in the great British pastime, Queuing. This was probably the largest Queue in the expo, probably because con/expo goers, gamers, or just people in general love getting free stuff, and at the OnLive booth, you could get one an OnLive micro console, usually accompanied by an OnLive shirt, and other assorted OnLive related swag (depending on how early you get there).
What’s great about the Eurogamer Expo is that there are several mini-exhibition areas inside the Expo itself, all about games, but with a focus on a different aspect of gaming.
There’s a Games Industry careers fair area, where budding developers, programmers, designers, etc, can come in, meet various representatives from multiple gaming companies, take part in workshop sessions, have their portfolios assessed and basically find out how to get into the games industry from the people who currently work in it. This provides a great opportunity for gamers to get useful information on how to actually get into developing the next generation of games for consoles, web and mobile.
The Replay Arcade area (Retro gaming area) located around the back of the exhibition hall was where gamers could play games from the past 20+ years of gaming history, including consoles such as the atari 2600, Vetrex and Colecovision. The Replay Arcade had an extensive collection of home and portable consoles and even had a few rare games on show. One of my favorite suprises to see there was Saturn Bomber man with the 10 player, 2 multitap setup.
EGXP also features an Indie Arcade area, to showcase several Indie titles that are in development prior to their general release. This area seemed to be very popular throughout the day and would almost definitely increase awareness about these particular games and Indie games development in general.
Since Eurogamer Expo is a gaming exhibition, there is one element which should always be included in any major gaming con, show or expo; Booth Babes, of which a few were spotted on the show floor:
Eurogamer Expo seems to have successfully become a major gaming event for UK and I can only imagine that it will continue to grow substantially each year. Here’s a few more photos from around the expo.