The Eurogamer Expo is coming back! Following last year's great success in London, we're expanding the show to cover the north and south of England for Eurogamer Expo 2009 - partnered with hmv.
Those of you "above the fold", so to speak, will now be able to check out the Eurogamer Expo at The Royal Armouries in Leeds on 27th and 28th October - in association with Game Republic and Screen Yorkshire.
The show will then head south and take up residence at Old Billingsgate - more than 80,000 square feet of space - on 30th and 31st October.
The decision to bring the show to two cities was taken mostly in response to your feedback last year. London's a long way to go for a lot of people, and we'd rather the show was convenient for more of you.
Another change is hmv's sponsorship, which means that there will be a retail presence at both rounds of the Expo. If you see a game you like and it's out, you should be able to buy it and, if not, pre-order it.
With two legs and bigger venues, we can also host more gamers - with up to 14,000 tickets available from the Eurogamer Expo website, priced at GBP 6 per day.
Naturally we will have all the big games in both cities, and we will be making more announcements in the coming weeks and months about what will be there. But based on last year's line-up you can expect to play pretty much anything you're eyeing up for Christmas.
Any questions? If you do, then read on to hear what Eurogamer managing director Rupert Loman had to say when I went into his office and started interrogating him. Full disclosure: Eurogamer.net and Eurogamer Expo are obviously run by the same company. To offset this, I decided to play hardball up front.
Eurogamer: If you like videogame expos so much, why don't you go live there?
Rupert Loman: Errr...
Eurogamer: Nice press release, but which games are we going to see at the Expo? TELL US YOU BASTARD.
Rupert Loman: We're not saying yet! We're going to start announcing the playable games after E3. We don't think people will be disappointed though - we're doing our best to get every big game coming out this Christmas and some from next year too.
We've been working on the show since January and we've got quite a few excellent titles confirmed already, and many more are in discussion, some of which haven't even been publicly announced by their publishers yet!
Eurogamer: What's the difference between the Leeds and London versions of the Expo?
Rupert Loman: They are going to be very similar - the same games will be playable at both venues. But the London event is bigger so there'll be more consoles for each game there. There'll be a few extra attractions exclusive to each event, but the games will be the same.
Eurogamer: What's the thinking behind limiting the number of attendees? Surely the more the merrier?
Rupert Loman: Nope! One of our founding principles was to keep the queue sizes down - so we cap the number of people that can come. The "consoles to people" ratio will be the same in London and Leeds.
Eurogamer: You've also got a retail partner sponsoring the Expo this time - why do that?
Rupert Loman: Two reasons: One, we actually had a lot of feedback from people last year who came down and played loads of games and then were disappointed they couldn't go home with one or two of them. Secondly, hmv are going to promote the Expo in their stores, which will attract more people to the show.
Eurogamer: Tell us about the venues. What's The Royal Armouries like in Leeds, and Old Billingsgate in London?
Rupert Loman: The Royal Armouries is a very cool setting - the new Saviles Hall (named after local legend Jimmy) will have the main Expo show floor, with the Career Fair taking place across the courtyard. Plus there's a Pizza Express on-site.
Old Billingsgate is about twice the size of last year's venue and is absolutely stunning. It looks out onto the Thames... although the best bit is the underground "vaults" which I think people are going to love.
Eurogamer: What else did you learn from the first Eurogamer Expo?
Rupert Loman: It's loads of work! We got so much feedback last year (over 900 people filled in the exit questionnaire) and we've acted on a lot of it. We've added a weekend-day to the London event, we're trying to get a lot more developers to the show, we've added a retail partner...
And of course, most importantly, we're doing an event outside of London. The North of England is so under-served when it comes to gaming events so we're really happy to be working with Game Republic to bring the Expo to Leeds.
Eurogamer: Will there be any competitions, giveaways or other activities on-site?
Rupert Loman: Yep! We're talking to publishers about running various tournaments and activities on the site. There will hopefully be some decent freebies too, which was another thing people were asking after last year.
Eurogamer: Who from Eurogamer will be attending?
Rupert Loman: Almost all of our staff will be at both events! Not just the writers, but techies and sales people too! Don't be scared, come and say hello. We'll be the ones in the Eurogamer-blue shirts.
Eurogamer: And on a related note the readers may not care about, will there be more tables in the staff room?
Rupert Loman: No.
For more on the Eurogamer Expo or to buy a ticket, visit the Eurogamer Expo website. Tickets cost GBP 6 per day. Look out for game announcements and more in the coming weeks.