It’s not every day someone gets to wander round a vast cavern of lights, noise and activity, trying to get even a sniff of the latest games and consoles. This was my day on the 27th of September 2013, when I visited this year’s Eurogamer Expo at London’s Earl’s Court. Aside from being pursued by a Zombie posse, I had to navigate an excited crowd, who were all eager to get their first glimpse of the new generation gems.
This is the sixth Eurogamer Expo to be held in London, the last four of which have been held in Earls Court. The first attendance was only 4000 people: this year, 65,000 people packed into the vast space that is Earls Court.
The attention to detail on the stands, particularly Sony, was staggering: from the color-coordinated carpet to the ambient lighting and awesome displays. Noise from the crowd battled with the music and presentations taking place throughout the area. You can’t deny the excitement of the crowd, as they discovered their favorite or most-anticipated title waiting to be unveiled.
The merchandise stalls held a motherlode of plushies, action figures and clothing. I could have easily spent a fortune just on the awesome posters that were on sale. The busy stands presented wild fans with characters and gadgets from their favourite games. I was tempted to buy myself an official Eurogamer t-shirt just for the kudos but managed to resist.
There were several new titles for the PS3, including, Beyond 2 Souls, Battlefield 4 and Grand Turismo 6. PS4s were there in abundance, but the queue to get anywhere near one of them was huge.
The Playstation area was by far the biggest on the site. It was roomy and well laid-out, so there were fewer bottlenecks and the flow of people was relatively smooth. They also had two separate stages, meaning there was a lot going on, but that also meant it was easy to miss something.
The best thing – and I’m saving the best till last – they had comfy seats. Essential for such a long day.
The Xbox area was also well laid out, with good attention to detail. It was less self-contained than the PlayStation area, and didn’t seem as busy. There were a good few titles on offer, especially for the Xbox One, including Fable, Titanfall and Dead Rising 3. I tried to get a look at the Fable Anniversary game and queued for 20 minutes, which was an exercise in standing still. And since I only had a day to look around I couldn’t spend too much time on that. The Xbox One games did look amazing, but you will need a high res TV to get the full effect. I watched a presentation of the integrated Kinect, but unfortunately it did seem a bit glitchy on that day. They put on a good interactive experience where people could go up and pretend to be rock stars with a chicken (you had to be there). Something that generated attention was the car promoting Forza 5 (and it was cool).
Aside from console specific games there were a wide range of other new titles there to be played, such as Assassins Creed 4 and COD Ghosts. There were plenty of consoles around to have a go.
Games For The PC
Of the mainstream PC games that were available, for me, the one that stood out most was The Sims 4. Although not a lot has actually changed from The Sims 3, what has been developed is its usability. The interface is far more intuitive and easy to manipulate, which makes the game less time-consuming and more engaging. Using the ‘Create a Sim’ tool, you can drag on any Sim’s feature to shrink or expand its shape, and thus its appearance. I, for one, will be looking forward to playing it in the future. It think it’s a vast improvement over The Sims 3.
There was a lot of content in the indie section, and, perhaps as an indication of how popular independent games are becoming, it seemed to me that it was by far the busiest area. Some of the games were more in demand than others. Sir, You Are Being Hunted, seemed to be one of the more popular, but with it being so very busy, I didn’t get near, but I did find a little treasure in the name of Ethan: Meteor Hunter. It had great graphics, an appealing protagonist and compelling game play. Of all the indie games I saw, this was one that stood out.
The Over 18 Area
Last year I was banned from this area because I wasn’t qualified, but this year, I’m 18! Awe Yeah!
It was like entering an executive bathroom because suddenly, there was space! The cool rating went up by about six notches because here there were ‘grown-up’ games!
After riding up the ‘stairway to heaven,’ the doors at the top parted and there it was. Assassins Creed! The placement of Assassins Creed advertising was everywhere and certainly made it’s presence felt. Even so, Wolfenstein was one of the other titles that stood out – it was badass as hell! Other big titles include Battlefield 4, Titanfall and Dying Light.
What was Most Popular?
The console which generated the most excitement seemed to be the Playstation 4. Whether it was just down to a better presentation, or whether gamers prefer it (sorry Xbox fans) is, of course, hard to say, but it attracted a greater number of people.
For games, the line for Call of Duty was pretty long, but the line for Pokemon X and Y didn’t seem to end. So, in that respect, they were both winners. In terms of excitement, Dark Souls 2 was one of those which people wanted to know more about.
There was an entire area devoted to Cosplay. But, as I found out to my complete horror, this was not the only area they infiltrated. Not long after we arrived, they let out the Zombies. Also, Worms, Lightning, Mario and Princess Peach were there. A varied bunch of characters moved through the crowd throughout the day.
There was a great deal to see and lots going on. Considering there were still two more days to run, there was a large crowd in attendance. The excitement generated by the new consoles was pretty intense, and there was clearly a lot of anticipation for both them and the new games. I would have liked to have had a go on the PS4 too, but the queue was just so long it wasn’t possible. I guess I’ll have to wait until I buy my own!