PAX Aus makes room for dedicated EB Expo area

The two biggest gaming shows in the southern hemisphere will come together for the ultimate celebration of games and gaming culture in 2018.

For the past five years, PAX Aus has welcomed gamers of all stripes home with three days’ worth of massive console, PC, handheld, VR and tabletop freeplay gaming areas, esports stages, over 120 panels across 6 theatres, live concerts, and more — and all of that is coming back in 2018.

This year, PAX Aus will also play host to EB Expo, including a dedicated area for the largest publishers in the world to showcase their upcoming titles, developer presentations in the EB Expo Live Theatre, and Australia’s biggest pop-up EB Games (EB Games is the Australian/European arm of the GameStop brand) store. You want more major publishers? More hands-on gameplay? More panels? Well, you got it.

PAX Aus 2018 will take place from 26-28 October and will feature over 180 companies from around the world, thousands of playable games and over 150 hours of on-stage content. Three days can barely contain it. The event will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, as part of Creative Victoria’s MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL GAMES WEEK.

PAX Aus grows every year, and in 2018, EB Expo is the red mushroom to our Italian plumber,” said Jono Whyman, Event Manager of PAX Aus. “We’re incredibly excited to partner with EB Games to level up PAX Aus and continue to put on the biggest, best gaming show for our die-hard fans and new members of the PAX family.”

Debra McGrath, EB Games Event Director, echoed Jono’s statement: “When we created the EB Expo in 2011, our aim was to share our love of video games with as many people as possible. Our vision for the future is to create a world-class event that becomes a landmark on the global gaming calendar. After an exhaustive search we have found a kindred spirit in the awesome team at PAX Australia, who share our vision.” Debra continued, “Together, with the full support of the Australian publisher community, the IGEA and Creative Victoria we are committed to creating an event that gives Australians the experience they deserve.”

All this sounds great in theory, two of Australia’s biggest gaming conventions coming together in one place. This sound like PAX Aus might get some of the bigger publishers who only show up for the company run EB Expo in Sydney and open themselves up to the Melbourne market. But one does have to wonder “who is in control?” when it comes to what happens at PAX Aus itself. Traditionally PAX Aus is very independent developer focused since it began almost 6 years ago. EB Expo on the other hand, it run by EB Games, a large soulless corporation that uses it’s money to bully things out of developers and has a habit of ripping off customers in terms of pricing, second hand purchases and second hand prices. With the addition of the EB Games pop-up shop on the site, how many small developers or retail outlets are going to be turned away? Will there be an EB Games representative at every developer booth trying to get you to pre-order right away? Will there be a lot more EB Games advertising around the expo halls? Are EB Games in charge of the ticketing and media access, which at their Expo means you have Friday only to do your stuff and there is no media hour anymore. There’s a lot of unanswered and worrying questions that this deal brings about; I’ll let you know when PAX Aus happens in late October.