Last week we packed up the entire arena into a van and drove 100 miles north to the beautiful city of Birmingham. After five years at Earls Court, London, the Eurogamer Gaming Expo had to move as the exhibition centre is currently being demolished. This is going to be my report about the event and of course I'll focus on Gfinity’s eSports extravaganza!
I’ve done many gaming shows during my career, including putting on my own ones. It’s always interesting to see how some things remain the same while others don’t. One of the biggest differences is the popularity and focus on eSports, LAN and Streaming. I used to organise LAN parties back in the late 90s and early 00s but as the Gfinity booth showed, times have changed. No more sleeping bags under desks but hotels, for example. No rows upon rows of networked PC’s but two sound proof, air-conditioned booths where the best players and teams battle it out for supremacy. The Gfinity stand had a wonderful intimate feel to it and, in my opinion, with a spectacular lights and special effects show. I also want to call out all our admins, referees, volunteers and anyone else who helped put on this spectacle, delivering some outstanding work.
It was also wonderful to see that around our own stand, there were stands by YouTube Gaming, Twitch TV, Virgin Media and many, many more with an element of LAN, eSports, streaming and multiplayer gaming. There was a massive tie fighter in the middle of the exhibition hall, many people doing brilliant cosplay - chips and burgers plus an energy drink who’s tagline “Don’t just win, do damage” seemed a bit much. Your liver will agree!
Thursday the doors opened to members of the public. It was crazy, so many people but the event was well organised and no major incidents happened (that I’m aware of). We hosted the $10,000 Starcraft 2 Summer Masters II event in front of a live audience on Thursday and Friday. We also streamed it online on MLG, Twitch and YouTube. After some exhilarating games and rounds, Keen walked away with the prize and title of Champion beating Marinelord in the final of Starcraft 2 Summer Masters II. I'm not even going to attempt to make any clever comments about the games seeing how the last Blizzard RTS I've played was Warcraft 3...
Saturday and Sunday saw the $100,000 CS:GO Champion of Champions tournament. Lots of drama, lots of opinions and feedback on reddit, a tidal wave of Tweets plus a pumped up audience ensured a thrilling show was had by all. If you caught the action on our live-stream then you’ll agree that our BO5 (best-of-five) model is the best-in-class. I think so at least. Envyus was crowned Champion of Champions in a thrilling best of 5 Match that went to the wire with Fnatic, who came in second. We had a case of teabagging, spraying and other lingo I'm not quite fully immersed in yet. I've got a long way to go if I ever wanted to be a caster, speaking of which - I enjoyed every single one of them.
All our players were well looked after (I hope they agree) and nobody got their passports taken away or got a sunstroke thanks to the British weather. That, in my book, is a good event!
Meanwhile over on the Virgin Media stand, the Gaming Hexathlon took place. A total of 7 players qualified through the Gfinity website while 3 more qualified at EGX itself; there was £5,000 up for grabs. Players competed across Destiny, Hearthstone, FIFA16, Smite, Heroes of the Storm and Super Smash Bros. The ultimate winner was Alexander, an online qualifier who mainly plays Hearthstone but also many of the other games - no doubt giving him an edge over the competition.