Friday is a great day to go, wandering unmolested through the various displays on offer and getting easy access to the wares on show. This ease of movement (it is mainly Press folks early on day one, with the crush of crowds expected over the weekend) makes it easy to think you can breeze through everything the show has to offer in a short space of time. But by the time you look, touch, play, chat to the booth folks and generally experience each of the displays, ooops! There’s the day gone.
Now in its third year, the eGames Expo makes up much of the Festivals content, and I confess, I spent the lions-share of my time here. The Digital Lifestyle Show section, concentrating on the less interactive side of digital entertainment, such as flat screen TV’s, TiVO, home theatre sound systems and mobile devices, makes up the bulk of the rest of the festivals floor-space.
There is also much on offer for those considering a career move into digital entertainment, with game developers and educators. There is plenty of opportunity, and information for getting into a booming industry that is hungry for resources.
Floor presence wise, the behemoths of the gaming industry have increased their commitment to the Expo. In particular, Electronic Arts have sprawled across the Expo’s floor, showing off Mirrors Edge, Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3, the latest Need for Speed, Spore and the very impressive FIFA09 stand with screens aplenty, an actual indoor soccer arena and easy on the eye athletic staff to guide you through the game.
All three console manufacturers are here, with Microsoft giving away a Gears of War 2 themed shipping container worth AU$50,000. Nintendo have the usual blinding white booth with hands on Wii Music and the new Animal Crossing game.
Sony, however have invested heavily in this year’s show. Separate themed Sony stands are everywhere. From some SingStar karaoke, eye-toy new release games, through to LittleBigPlanet and Resistance 2 themed stands. Then there is the well presented general PS3 and PSP hands on arena allowing access to numerous games.
Ubisoft and Atari have large stands on the show floor, showing off Prince of Persia, FarCry 2 and PES2009. Disney Interactive is also showing off a bunch of High School Musical themed titles, mainly for the Nintendo Wii.
Nokia is back, heavily promoting the N-gage gaming service including an exciting local announcement that has been waiting three years to emerge: Keith Liu, Head of Games & Communities, Go-To-Market, Services & Software in Nokia's Southeast Asia Pacific, announced the latest N-Gage game from Nokia Games Publishing, Mega Monsters.
Mega Monsters is being developed in collaboration with Firemint, a leading Australian independent games studio with a particular focus on designing and developing high-end 3D titles for portable media devices.
More on the eGames Expo on page 2