Friday, June 22, 2018
Business

GameStop Expo gives hard-core gamers the previews they crave

LAS VEGAS — Inside the massive complex on the Las Vegas Strip that houses the glitzy Venetian casino and the Sands convention center, amid a soundscape of conflicting noises, thousands of players are mashing buttons while staring intently at flickering screens.

No, they're not playing slots or video poker. They're trying their hand at upcoming games such as Titanfall and Ryse.

This is the GameStop Expo. The world's largest video game retailer first organized the gathering of its most passionate customers last year during its annual meeting of store managers. While the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles is no longer open to the public, the GameStop Expo offers everyday gamers a chance to preview upcoming titles and hardware.

The expo's more than 5,000 attendees waited in snaking lines inside a cavernous Sands Expo and Convention Center hall early Wednesday to test-drive Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4, the next-generation systems due out in November. Call of Duty: Ghosts, Titanfall, Ryse: Son of Rome and Battlefield 4 were among the most popular games on display.

Admission for Wednesday's event ranged from $20 for student tickets to $100 for VIP access that included early entry.

"I'm here to see and play all the next-gen consoles and games for myself," Shawn Smoak, a 22-year-old self-professed "Sony fanboy," said while waiting to try out Titanfall. "You can read everything you possibly can about them online, but until you actually get your hands on the controller, you don't really know anything."

The expo also included panels, giveaways, photo booths, costume contests and free chocolate ice cream dispensed from a truck promoting the South Park: The Stick of Truth game.

Beyond the expo hall, in meeting rooms at the Venetian casino and the Sands convention center, more than 5,000 managers from the company's nearly 4,500 stores in the United States spent three days learning how to sell new games and hardware to customers like those at its expo. The retailer currently boasts about 25 million members in its PowerUp Rewards program.

"We didn't want to be in the live events business," said GameStop chief executive officer Paul Raines. "This was something that was pulled out of us. The customers wanted it. The PowerUp Rewards community was asking for us to give them an opportunity to see new products and games. People love it because this is the only place where they can play Titanfall right now."

Comments
Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

The biggest hospitals in Houston had a problem.To earn a prized institutional certification, they needed more nurses with bachelor of science degrees in nursing.But local colleges were more focused on turning out nurses with two-year degrees who, to ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — The days ahead were supposed to be bright.For weeks, the future of health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But t...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Here’s an intriguing set of facts: Coal produces the same percentage of the world’s electricity as 20 years ago. Oil and gas remain about level, too.Same for nonfossil fuel sources. In other words, the massive push towards renewables over the past co...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

A cancer lurks within Florida’s otherwise rosy job numbers, one that’s been called a quiet catastrophe and an intractable time bomb.Too many men between the ages of 25 and 54 have stopped working.Economists call those the prime-age years. Incomes gen...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Published: 06/22/18
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG — For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Published: 06/22/18
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Published: 06/21/18
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Published: 06/21/18
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Published: 06/21/18