ModDB/IndieDB attended EGX London 2022, one of the largest gaming events in the UK. This was our first event visit since the pandemic and also my first event as editor and community manager of DBolical. There was a fair bit to keep busy with during the time I spent there, so read on if you'd like to learn what we got up to!
EGX London is the first event I've been to since the pandemic, and also the first one I've gone to on behalf of DBolical. I've been to a lot of gaming-oriented shows before - the MCM Comic Con is a notable example - but as press I was put in the unique position this time of having talking points for indies, a special eye for interesting features, and an overview of our time at the event. So, I got up at 8am on the 22nd of September, tossed on the ModDB shirt, and headed out - with my dad - to central London.
Conventions, naturally, took something of a backseat in 2020 and 2021, so it was
great to come back to this side of things again - a real sign of going back to normal
There was a heavy indie presence at the event - not so much from the big publishers, though Sonic Frontiers, the new Modern Warfare II, and Splatoon 3 all had a showing. Sonic and Call of Duty both have a decent showing on ModDB - we've covered mods for these IPs before - though queues to play any of these games were pretty huge throughout the event and so the nearest I got was watching from the side. I'm not usually into Sonic but the concept of an open-world entry has intrigued me, and though not a fan of Splatoon either, it's hard to miss the excitement around a new entry in the series. Modern Warfare II, however, I am excited for - both because it's looking every bit as solid as the reboot from 2019, and because, invariably, whenever an ew COD comes out, the content from it is ported back into Black Ops III in the form of custom zombies maps (which is one of the highlights of COD modding, perhaps modding on Steam Workshop in general).
Representing ModDB! Unfortunately also taken at the precise moment
I blinked. Eyes were open for the rest of the event, promise!
I spoke to a number of indie publishers about the nature of UGC in the indie scene and how, properly cultivated, a user-oriented content creation model might allow indies with smaller teams and budgets to remain relevant for longer periods of time in an age where the live service model all but dominates the AAA industry. I spoke in particular to representatives from Wired Productions, where they were interested in proposing UGC solutions for upcoming indies under their wing, and from Kwalee, who publish Space Chef on behalf of Blue Goo Games. I was happy to find interest in learning more about UGC in indies from those I spoke to, and some already had level editors and that kind of thing in the works for their games! I also briefly spoke about mod.io when the question of cross-platform modding support came up.
As with any event there was plenty of merch (I resisted buying Yu-Gi-Oh cards since as much as I love to look at them I haven't actually played the physical card game since college), and some major PC suppliers like ASUS and Cyberpower UK also took the opportunity to demonstrate their hardware with the likes of Halo Infinite and Slime Rancher.
A good chunk of the area was taken up by a "retro zone", which I have to say, was probably one of the coolest parts of the entire event. Dozens of consoles, original arcade machines, and old computers were hooked up with classics like Missile Command, Arkanoid, and Space Invaders II representing the big cabinet era of gaming. Meanwhile, old PCs with strobing screens were setup with Counter-Strike, Quake 2, and some of the titans of RTS like StarCraft and Warcraft III: Frozen Throne. It was impossible not to sit down and try 'em all - and of course, we have mods for many of these older titles, so I had a decent excuse to, should we say, "get ideas"!
Though I had a great time, EGX 2022 was still notably smaller than it usually is, and when you look at numbers from the recent Gamescom event as well, a pattern begins to emerge. Getting around 350,000 visitors in 2019, Gamescom's audience numbers dropped by almost a third in 2022 with around 250,000 visitors. For some, the risk may still be a little too high for comfort; for others, a habit has been lost; and for more still, the convenience of getting your gaming news at home may have been entrenched. However, I missed having the opportunity to go out and experience this kind of thing first-hand, and whether smaller or no, EGX 2022 was a great step in the direction of normalising coming together like this again.
Did you go to EGX 2022? Have you been to EGX before, or other conventions this year? Let us know in the comments down below! And if talking of the classics got you wanting some good ol' mods to enjoy...