So, last week in Paris was the ParisGamesWeek, an event meant to show off the upcoming games to the public. I was there (well, my schedule only allowed me to attend for one day, not the whole week), and here is the report from the different stands and public reaction. Here we go!
First of all, regarding the attendance. The event lasted around one week, and had 212 000 visitors. The place, La Porte de Versailles, is one of the biggest show room in the country and the place was litteraly crowded. I actually often had trouble moving around. People from all ages were attending, with a majority of early teenages (13 - 16 years old).
The show had two prizes:
- The public prize, given to the game which got the most public votes. Unsurprisingly, the winner was Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.
- The show prize, given to several games according to their categories, by industry professionals. These were:
- Best action games: Dishonored
- Best adventure game: Assassin's Creed 3.
- Best FPS game: ZombiU.
- Best sports game: FIFA13.
- Best racing game: Need for speed Most Wanted.
- Best RPG: Ni No Kuni.
- Best fighting game: Playstation All Stars.
- Best familly game: The Lapins Crétins Land.
- Best youth game: Wonderbook: Book of spells.
- Best platforming game: Rayman Legends.
- Best musical game: Just dance 4.
Ubisoft is clearly the winner of this second contest, with 5 out of 11 prizes given to it. Especially with ZombiU, that managed to beat both the next CoD and Halo 4.
Now, let's get into more details, and on what I could see from this event. There was 20 minutes to several hours of waiting for most games, so I couldn't really get my hands on them sadly.
The first stall that one could see entering the place was the Black Ops 2 one. Well, stall might not be the best word. It actually was some kind of big black box, completely closed with large posters on every side. All I could see from the inside was how dark it was, but there was no way to see the game itself. There were a lot of people queuing in front of and all around the box, as only a few were allowed inside at the same time.
To the right was the Microsoft stand. The game they showed the most was Forza Horizon, with a large number of consoles with both traditionnal controllers and wheels.
Next to it was Dance Central 3. You had two lightly dressed women dancing, and they allowed 2 people on the stage with them. There were also 10 - 20 people dancing on the dancefloor in front of it, and more watching. The game seemed pretty popular, except when the people allowed on the stage had trouble understanding how the Kinect worked when it came to picking the next track.
Talking about the Kinect. They had a whole area devoted to it. Most games seemed pretty popular, except Fable: The Journey. Indeed, I spent 15 minutes watching the two consoles were people could play this game and... Well, I did not see anyone actually managing to get the game to work correctly. People would come, try to follow the on-screen instructions, and get angry when nothing happened.
They also had a few computers / tablets to show windows 8, but they did not catch anyone's interest. People sometimes fooled around with the touchscreen, but did not stay long. Pretty understandable, as they were merely showing the OS.
Like Black Ops 2, Halo 4 was in a completely closed space. It had slightly less people waiting than CoD, but the queue was still here.
Not far from it, you had a very small Angry Birds stall, which had the game on Xbox 360 and 3DS. The Xbox version had a group of kids playing it, while the 3DS one was left untouched. I tried to play it, and found it almost unplayable. On the top screen you would see the whole situation, while the touchscreen zoomed on the bird catapult. The problem was that you could barely see anything on the top screen, since everything was so small (and it was a 3DS XL). Maybe there was a zooming in button, but I did not find it, since the only staff girl at this stall quickly vanished and was nowhere to be found.
Now it was time to go to the Ubi stall. Or, should I rather say, the Ubi stalls. The first one was pretty small.
There was a Might and Magic Duel of Champions game. You always had 5 - 10 people around, but never more. Still, the people who were playing the game seemed really interested in what they were doing, and often stayed there for a long time.
Then you had a few computers for a Shoot Mania Storm LAN. I liked the old school feel to this game, and some other people obviously did as there was always at least 20 people standing there and watching the game. There also was a Ghost recoon LAN, slightly less popular.
Time to move to their second stall, much bigger. Actually, if you don't count the 3 big manufacturers, Ubisoft had the biggest and most successful stall around.
The game they devoted the most space too was Assassin's Creed 3, which also had a lot of people queuing to try it. Clever thing: while queuing, people could either watch videos of the game on a huge screen, or try the PSVita version of it. Nice move, Ubisoft!
You also had an area devoted to ZombiU and another to Far Cry 3, and both were very well decorated. The game managed to attract the attention of a fairly good number of people.
Moving around the stall, one could see the Ubi shop, selling goodies (and people were, no matter what they bought, given ZombiU bags). Right behind it was the Ubisoft lounge. There you actually had chairs and couches were people could try Rayman Legends and Raving Rabbids games. The atmosphere there felt very casual (no pun intended), and people were having some actual fun.
Finally, you had a stage and a dancefloor for Just Dance 4. This was, by far, the most popular dancing game of the show, with a lot of people dancing around. The staff people were wearing normal clothes, and actually looked like they were having fun, while the Dance Central one were more like professional dancers.
The EA stall was a bit smaller. You had an area devoted to Need For Speed: Most Wanted, with an actual sports cars painted as a police car, that did nothing more than get in the way of people trying to watch the game. In frnt of the car was a woman dressed as a policewoman, taking pictures with guys that obviously had more interest in her huge cleavage than in the game itself.
You had a handful of PC were people could play Crysis 3, which was extremely popular, but still less than the EA sports area. Finally, you also had some PCs to play the coming Sim City game, which also brought in a decent amount of people.
In front of it was the Square Enix stall. They had a huge screen (easily the biggest among the exposants) where they showed several of their games, with two men in front of it commenting on what was happennig and explaining the game. By the time I passed in front of this screen, they were showing Sleeping Dogs, which brought in a very large and loud crowd. The men diong the presentation kept on comparing the game to GTA games, but still managed to explain a large part of the concepts of the game.
On this stand there also was a Final Fantasy exposition, with concept arts and such. Barely anyone was paying attention to it. There were other games too, which were more or less popular, but the stall wasn't the most popular around. Hitman absolution seemed good, and apparently they had an animation with a guy dressed as hitman and several women dressed as "nuns" fighting each other, but not the day I was here.
The Konami stall had a space devoted to PES, which was very popular, but not as much as FIFA 13 on the EA sports stall.
They also had a Metal Gear Revengeance area, which was surprisingly popular. Well, France loves Japan after all. There also were older consoles with older Metal Gear games, including the NES one.
The Sony stall was bigger than Microsoft's, but much more messy: it seemed more like a bunch of stalls put together in a small area. Actually, Konami's stall almost seemed to be a part of it.
Back on the "messy" side. This made it very hard to navigate through the the stall, and I almost missed some games.
It's there that the third and last dancing game was showed: Dance Star Party Hit. I'll try to describe the situation without being to nasty... First, the two people hired to present the game (a man and a woman): the woman looked bored, while the man was just dancing and talking to no one. They only allowed one person at a time on stage, which usually had trouble understanding what they were expected to do and missed everything. Some people were looking, but, unlike the other dancing game, no one was actually dancing. The whole situation felt very awkward.
The God of War stall was a bit more popular. Except for the guy dressed as Kratos, who did not look like Kratos at all and was smiling way too much.
There also was an area devoted to Little Big Planet. The stall consisted of couches and cars that looked a lot like what can be found in the game. There, people could play a karting game based on the LBP IP... That happened to be Little Big Planet Karting (to get this information I actually had to ask a staff girl there, since it wasn't written anywhere).
A huge area was devoted to the PSVita, with a lot of consoles, mostly to try Playstation All Stars, Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed Liberation. Roughly two thirds of the consoles were being used, the others left alone.
Wonderbook: Book of Spells was also presented. I kinda liked this concept, and next to each console was a staff member to explain how the game is played. People actually had to sit on the ground, in a position that reminded me of children reading a book together. Most people had a few troubles grasping what was exactly expected from them, but once they did, they usually had fun and kept on playing for a pretty long time.
Gran Turismo V was, by far, the most popular game Sony presented.
A stall was devoted to Skylanders. Obviously, it mostly attracted children, along with a small number of curious teenagers / adults. The decoration was pretty good, and children could get some makeup on their faces. Despite that, the stand was not that popular.
Capcom was also there, with a Street Fighter 2 I don't recall which edition tournament, which had some reasonnable success. They also had an area devoted to DMC, which brought a lot of people. Weirdly enough, there was no trace of Resident Evil 6 to be found.
Bethesda had a pretty small yet popular stall. They only presented Dishonored and Doom 3: BFG edition. There was a couch with two women in victorian dresses and masks, along with a man in a Dishonored guard uniform, and a lot of people were taking pictures with them. They also gave away some Dishonored carton masks, and you could see people walking around with them.
King.com had a stall. It was pretty small, and almost empty. Worst was that they actually used computers with a facebook account to present their facebook games... Which meant that the majority of people actually used the computers to check their own facebooks!
Finally, the Nintendo stall. By far, it was the biggest one. It was clearly separated between the 3DS and the Wii U areas.
The 3DS area had some bleachers. Think something like an old greek theatre, only smaller. There, people could plug their 3DS to play against eah other, and did a lot. There were no games presented, but tournaments of Kid Icarus, New Super Mario Bros, Mario Kart 7 and Mario Tennis Open. The prizes were pretty good, as winners could even get a Wii U! The tournaments brought a pretty large number of both participants and spectators, and everyone seemed to have some fun.
But the most important and biggest stall was the Wii U one. They had the best organization around: you only had to go and grab a ticket (no queue) which gave you a time to come to try games. At said hour, you showed your ticket and were allowed inside. They only allowed approximately twice as many people as there were consoles, meaning that you barely had to wait to try out any game you wanted, especially since there was a very large number of consoles for each game. The stall itself was pretty minimalistic, without any fancy decoration or anything.
In front of each console was someone devoted to explain people how the game worked, and make sure everyone waiting had the time to try the game.
Since there was no queuing, I got to try out several games on the console:
- Pikmin 3. Well, it's very much like other Pikmin games. You play with the wiimote. The pad serves as a mini map, that I barely looked at (the display was not bright enough to my liking). I also had trouble aiming with the Wiimote, but only because it was attached to the console and the cable was too short.
- The wonderful 101. Just got to try it a little, seemed fun. But play time was too short to grasp the ambiance of the game.
- Darksiders 2. Controls were waay to sensitive, and the touchscreen pretty much useless (it really feels like they forced it into the final game).
- ZombiU. My personnal favorite. Gameplay was great, with the tablet well integrated. The game, unlike "press A to win" Assassin's Creed series, was really strong on survival and challenge. And the graphics really great. Really deserves the FPS of the show title.
A lot of people tried Nintendoland, and the game seemed to be the most popular of the stall. I was a bit worried about the Wii U having absolutely no pre-release hype, but it seems people heard about it and were curious about it.
To sum it up, I'd say that Nintendo's stand was the best one of the show, where you could really get to try the game and quickly understand what it was all about.
A lot of other stalls were dedicated to French video games websites / TV channels. There was also a League of Legends huge tournament, but I did not get to see it. Apparently, it brought a lot of people.
So, winners of the show for me:
Among manufaturers: Nintendo, by far.
Among developers: Ubisoft for presentation and content, Activision for attendance.
Thanks for reading! Don't hesitate to ask any question!