As 75,000 people walked through Earls Courts doors at the UK’s biggest gaming event, EGX showed that it really can compete with some of the larger events that take place across the pond. But we have to question where the UK’s gaming scene is headed? And what do we have in store for the future?
The Start Replay team have managed to cover a great range of events across the globe, and between the team this has taken us up and down the UK, to mainland Europe and even sunny California. Whilst we love going to these events away from blighty, the UK really has some great events in store for those unable to travel far.
EGX 2014 really made me reconsider my opinion on the experiences that gaming events in the UK can deliver. Whilst the team and I have managed to attend previous events, this year really stood out for me. I was left a bit disheartened after previous years events, there wasn’t a great deal of ‘buzz’ surrounding the event, and the Earl’s Court venue didn’t seem to deliver the modern and sleek feel it should have. However this year, developers managed to create interesting and fun show floors, with Microsoft, Sony and Ubisoft having their own stages with events running throughout the day. Other notable attendees were Twitch, who alongside The Yogscast (who I am a fan of) managed to to have a buzzing stand with YouTuber’s live-streaming throughout the day and merchandise selling/ signing. The inclusion of YouTuber’s is a great idea and we particularly enjoyed when the YouTuber’s were playing and streaming games on the various stages. If EGX can continue to bring in support from developers and media then it will continue to grow, and attendance numbers and 3 hour queues are a testament to that.
EGX 2015 will be held in the NEC in Birmingham, whilst it is moving out of London, EGX will be bigger and better than ever before. Although it will be more difficult for those that are all well connected to the nation’s capital to reach the event, the NEC is a larger, more modern and suitable home for the event. Also Boris has plans to tear down Earl’s Court, so we’d be playing Call Of Duty: Copy/Paste Of Last Year surrounded by rubble and wrecking balls (Miley Cyrus not included). Personally I feel that EGX needs to take a leaf out of the worlds biggest event, Gamescom and have more of a focus on the competitive scene to really take off on a global scale.
Insomnia Gaming Festival hosted by Multiplay is presented in a different style to EGX. Based in the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, it has much more of a focus on the competitive scene and also being a huge LAN party for people to bring their own PC’s and consoles. The event has been going for over a decade, and in turn has grown into a popular and well attended event. Stand out features such as Halo competitions help to differentiate it from other UK events, and it also runs a few times a year instead of annually.
Insomnia also ensures it focuses on more interactive details such as cosplay and stages with different content running throughout the day. I feel the UK’s biggest gaming festival has the makeup to become hugely popular and the headline event of the British gaming calendar due to the interactive nature. Other events focus more on showcasing up and coming games, Insomnia is very differentand is similar to Sweden’s hugely popluar Dreamhack event.
The UK’s gaming scene is heading in the right direction, with the key ingredients being interactivity and a competitive scene. If they can continue to do this, crowds from around the world may start taking note and jumping on planes over to the UK. Gaming is massive in the UK, and there is no reason why the events can’t be. The Start Replay team will continue to cover gaming events around the world, and will be attending all the coming UK events and also Gamescom in Germany and E3 2015.
A dedicated UK competitive event is rumored to be in the pipeline for late 2015, hopefully the rumours are true and we could have a fantastic event to attend!