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I was excited to attend EA Play yesterday, EA's own version of E3 where they were able to show off their upcoming games to the public. But while I was there, I noticed EA Play wasn't exactly as exciting as they had tried to make it out to be. With the exception of the press conference, EA Play felt like a total bust.
The Wristband Pick-Up
Upon walking into the vicinity of the EA Play area, there's a large counter with a roped line and a man with an EA shirt standing guard in front of the line entrance. And above the long counter on the sign, it said "Guest Registration." So I automatically assumed by friend could sign up for EA Play here despite missing his window online. I was questioned heavily by the man guarding the line before I could even get through to ask my question at the counter. I was given my swag bag and wristband, and when I asked if new users could also register for a wristband here, they told me no. I was confused as to why it said Guest Registration then and not Wristband Pick-Up.
Shortly after, I wanted to get clarification about it so I tried asking a woman who was roping more of the counter area off. In the middle of me asking her the question, some guy tried to go under the rope and she started yelling at him. When he explained he worked for EA and needed to get back there, she kept yelling at him like it was the damn Oscars or something and that the red rope was the privileged entrance. He kept showing her his badge and telling her he works for EA and she kept yelling at him. Then she looked at me, put her hand in my face and rudely said, "I need to take care of this." So let me tell you, the EA people working the floor were not having a fun time.
When I finally went up the two floors to the very exclusive-feeling EA Play (isn't this supposed to be public?), I saw people guarding every open space. I saw them scanning my wrists for the wristband. And when I got inside, I had no idea where the hell I was going. There were no signs, no directions to where everything was located. I'd wander around and find myself in a corner, probably somewhere I wasn't supposed to be because it'd look like a break area or something. So I'd turn around and go back. I found Battlefield 1 and the FIFA section, but never found Titanfall 2. No one asked me if I needed help finding something and from what I could tell, there were only lines where people were waiting to play the games. Where the hell was I going? And if I had an appointment time, why were there long-ass lines? I didn't know how that worked because it hadn't been explained anywhere in advance, I guess I was just supposed to show up to EA Play and figure it out myself.
At E3, there isn't just gameplay demos. E3 does a really good job of making sure there's an array of things to do and check out. But at EA Play, there was very little to do besides wait in line for the games. Oh right, there was a stand-up game of touch-screen Bejeweled. That oughta pass the time. But I just felt like something was really lacking, or missing, like there should've been more at EA Play than there was. Maybe they'll learn to include more engaging stuff next year, if they decide to do EA Play again.