Jealous of all of the members of the press who got to try out this year’s upcoming games at E3 – or just can’t contain yourself until the holiday rush begins? That’s certainly what GameStop’s hoping. On September 2, 2015 – just one day after Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain sneaks onto consoles everywhere – GameStop will take over the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas for a one-day convention that promises fans the chance to play this fall’s hottest games.
It’s pretty easy to see what GameStop’s up to: letting die-hard fans try out some highly anticipated titles is a great way to build buzz right before they go on sale, and with the $40 entry fee, the retailer will probably make a few bucks on the side, too. And yes, some of the titles on offer are kind of puzzling. Super Mario Maker and Destiny’s Taken King expansion both come out a few days after the expo (September 11 and September 15, respectively), and it’s hard to imagine that it’ll be worth the money just to try those just a week or two before release.
Still, for players who just can’t wait, there’s some good value here. The GameStop Expo’s line-up is full of 2015’s (and a couple of 2016’s) biggest games. Star Wars Battlefront will be there, as will Halo 5: Guardians, which will also bring the real-life, four-versus-four, dart-and-tennis-ball-gun Breakout Arena game from San Diego Comic-Con to Sin City. Other big titles coming to the GameStop Expo include Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Rainbow Six Siege, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, and Street Fighter 5. By paying extra entry fees (or buying a $110 VIP pass), competitive gamers will be able to enter a number of tournaments, which pay out in $100 gift cards and “vendor swag.”
GameStop has plans for more hardware-minded gamers as well. Activision will show off Guitar Hero Live, with its new six-button controller. Two upcoming virtual reality systems will be there: in September, Sony’s Project Morpheus returns to the Sands Expo Center (where Sony held its PlayStation Experience last winter), while HTC and Valve will let fans play with the Vive headset for the very first time. Alienware will show off its slate of Steam Machine console/PC hybrids, while interested players will be able to get their hands on one of Valve’s Steam Controllers. The $150 Xbox Elite controller will also make an appearance
Of course, it’s not a gaming convention without booths shilling swag and useless spectacle; in addition to all the games, vendors will sell convention-exclusive items, and Microsoft will provide a Rise of the Tomb Raider photo booth. It’s not clear whether the photo booth will be like the one at E3, where fans posed with a model dressed like Lara Croft, but apparently costumes will be provided, so feel free to leave your turquoise tube-top and hot pants at home.