Video game retailer GameStop has opened its annual Expo conference -- previously reserved for the chain's managers and members of the game industry -- to consumers.
The San Antonio, Texas conference
will be short, lasting five hours compared to Penny Arcade Expo three-day festivals (also geared toward consumers). But the August 29 event will take place two days before PAX 2012 kicks off in Seattle, and could be seen as a competitor.
GameStop Expo's primary role in previous years
was to introduce the retail chain's numerous managers to upcoming titles from game companies, offering them a preview of products they will sell during the holiday season.
Now the conference is also positioned as an opportunity for consumers to see games months before their release, meet with video game publishers, and see special guests. GameStop intends to charge attendees $35 for general admission, or $100 or VIP admission.
Those who purchase a VIP pass will be able to attend presentations held by major game companies. GameStop will sell tickets only to members of PowerUp Rewards, the store's free loyalty program.