Still Trying To Be A Big Player In Video Game Conferences
Last year was, by all accounts pretty lame. This year we got more of the same but the kinks were ironed out and all platform holders were firing on all cylinders. Last year there was no Nintendo and a minimal xbox presence. This year both are back and killing it. The three top console manufacturers were all present and all had their standout moments. The show floor this year felt bigger, they must have expanded the sides of the show floor and spaced things better because this year felt like it had more stuff but also more room to breathe. As you entered the show floor you were thrust into ‘Indie town’ (EGX’s Rezzed Zone) which is cool, much like last year they were front of the show, not tucked away at the back. Was it a strong show overall? We find out in our full EGX 2017 show review.
The Big Players
EGX has always felt very Playstation heavy and it still kind of does. This time around though there was some renewed energy from Xbox who were trying to sell the Xbox One X. Nintendo came back from the dead too and in short they nailed it this year. I sat down for lunch and a group of teens nearby all sat down and got their Switches out. Joining together for a massive group game of Splatoon 2. It was like a PR dream for Nintendo and hard proof the Switch is crushing it. Super Mario Odyssey was a big hitter and people were going nuts for it. You could not move very far without seeing people wearing Mario hats (free giveaway items from Nintendo). This was the year of the Switch and I would not be surprised if Nintendo sold a fair few units.
Xbox had a smaller floor space than Playstation, but at least they had some this year. People were interested in the Xbox One X and were able to play a whole host of games including, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Forza 7, Sea of Thieves and Middle Earth: Shadow Of War. They also had some hype brewing with a stage and giveaways, something that goes a long way with gamers.
Playstation were their usual self and had the majority of the games playable on their platform but they did not have any new tricks this year. Star Wars: Battlefront 2 had a load of interest as well as Call of Duty: World War II which was exclusively playable on Playstation. They did have a stage where they held live demo’s and talks which worked really well. Other than that is was business as usual for Playstation, not a bad thing just a bit…meh.
VR, where did you go?
Last year VR was huge. HTC, PSVR, Oculus, Rover were all over last year’s conference, fast forward to 2017 and…oh snap where did they go? PSVR did have a stand but did not have much heat. You had to book an appointment and seeing as this tech is now out in the wild, the need to queue at a show is not that appealing. I am not a huge VR guy but VR works really well at a show like this. People want to try things they have not experienced before and get hands on with tech they can’t afford. This seemed like a missed opportunity and frankly kind of worrying for the future of VR gaming.
Same Old Faces
There are a few indie games that have been on show many years in a row now (looking at you Gang Beasts). Making games is bloody hard but how many times can you show a game off before you go dark and enter a full release? Having said that, the indie section is always my favorite. The sheer creativity and dedication from the developers shines though and you get a chance to meet the people that are making the game you are playing, it’s freaking great.
The Show Will Go On
We are ten years into EGX now. The show is big and they are desperately trying to be relevant. They sorely need some exclusivity to draw people in. Granted I did not got to any developer conferences this year but these are the experiences they need to go after. I did see a few ‘Rockstar’ developers and ‘big’ press people this year, so they must be gaining some traction. EGX is a victim of where it sits in the calendar. All the big news has been announced and there is not much left. The show is, however, a place for geeks to congregate. A safe place for fandom and people to revel in the joy of video games. This is what EGX does, ten years in and they are getting mighty good at it.