I had the pleasure of talking to a lot of people while attending the EB Expo 2015 in Sydney recently. For me, the most exciting part of these conventions is less the experience to play upcoming games (my mind and wallet aren’t easily swayed) but meeting and discussing the world of video games person-to-person. Everyone in that hall is passionate gamer (or a parent hiding out in the parents lounge). It’s a pretty amazing energy.
I got to chilled with my BFF
One of the most resonating discussions I had this year was talking with Charles (I’m 90% sure that was what was on his tag) for Nintendo Australia. In previous years I’ve seen him around but normally I’m being surrounded by gorgeous women who want my supple body, distracting me from talking to a lot of people. I managed to catch him standing back, observing the dozens of people in the Nintendo booth having a doozy of a time. We conversed on Nintendo Australia’s public engagement activities. He divulged that while attending E3 2014 he enjoyed and saw people enjoying Splatoon so much that he decided it definitely had to be available here for EB Expo 2014. With that, they had to rig up 8 Wii Us and the stations that housed them just for the event. While surely a costly move, I remember there being an enormous amount of hype around the squid shooter last year. And better yet, they had more Wii U kiosks to play this year as a result (having 2 units to run Xenoblade Chronicles X and Project Zero proved to keep the lines short).
It’s expensive to bring their presence from their Melbourne headquarters to Sydney each year, but they’re always there pleasing the attendees. He related this to Sony and Microsoft’s attempts to attend PAX AUS, which is held in Melbourne. While Nintendo has had a presence at every PAX AUS to date, Microsoft first attended last year and Sony will be debuting at PAX this year. This led me to ask about how they attended Sydney Supanova in previous years but missed the last few. They had a choice between attending Supanova and running the Pokemon Video Game Championships in Australia, choosing the latter.
I’m going out on a limb and saying that they made a choice that definitely benefited the gamers more. The Pokemon VGC was a free event, and when I attended in Sydney there was 100s of people enjoying the game. I’ve never attended Supanova but from what I gather the last few years were some demos of games already out and focusing on relaxing with StreetPass, which sounds nice until you realise that you would be paying money to attend Supanova. I imagine that because there was no cost to the attendees of the Pokemon VGC, it boosted numbers and made the event a more enjoyable place to be. Not the mention that the junior league would definitely have been a completely different scene if they had implemented a paywall of some kind.
If kids stop believing in him, the Christmas Spirit will be gone
I have to be honest, I’ve just realised I never asked about the Connection Tours, but I imagine that all comes down to the funding all over again. I do question if touring shopping centres and being open for anyone to play rather than locking off behind the paywall of a gathering that only informed gamers will attend is a smart move, but there’s obviously a lot more to that. Not to mention that they need to start paying attention to more regions. When the Connection Tours and, more recently, demos and Pokemon distributions took place they were relegated to the capital cities in their respective states. More shamefully, the Northern Territory was completely disregarded in the recent Super Mario Maker demo kiosk distribution. To my knowledge this demo was insert on existing demo kiosks where the controllers had been hideously disfigured through mass usage since their installation before the console launched in 2012. I’m unaware in NT got any kiosks the first time around, but I definitely think that even with a smaller potential demographic they should have access to try these. Moreover, when in Sydney there are multiple Wii U kiosk stations within walking distance of each other. Why have these opportunities to try the Wii U all squished together? Why not put some in regional areas? I’m sure they’d love to play video games after a hard day of dirt farming or business administration.
Would you look at that? I couldn’t let praise be praise. I have a problem.