EB Expo's Ultimate Cosplayer Pass Is A Bit Shit

In today's gaming world, most people either are cosplayers, know a cosplayer or follow one on social media. It seems EB Expo has cottoned on to this fact, and they're getting in on the trend. Kinda.

They're not inviting cosplay guests, or offering their high-stakes cosplay comp again. This year, they're adding a cosplay repair station and cloak room — and charging cosplayers $300 to actually use them.

Images: Supplied

EB Expo passes are usually pretty expensive — $149 for all three days — but the $299 'Ultimate Cosplayer Pass' is a bit ridiculous. This is even before taking into account all the money cosplayers spend on their costumes. They generally don't have that much cash to spare.

So what does this extra $150 get our ultimate cosplayers? Let's break it down:

•Secret Escape Room It took me a while to realise that they weren't putting the cosplayers through an actual escape room. Because that would be weird. I mean it's still weird, but here are the things that cosplayers are meant to pay extra for in the escape room:

—Emergency Repair Station for everything you need to get your outfit back up to scratch to hit the floor AKA that thing that most conventions provide for free. Some regular attendees will even provide a roaming cosplay repair service, like Captain Patch-It, out of the goodness of their own souls.

—Cloak Room for storing your costume so you can enjoy EB Expo 2016 in your own skin Again, something many cons provide for free, or for a charge of a couple dollars.

—Powder Room to touch up your makeup So, a bathroom.

—Chill Out Lounge Interestingly, EB Expo boasts a Cosplay Lounge on their regular cosplay page, so I'm unsure whether this refers to the same lounge, or whether people who pay extra get another cosplay lounge.

The photo for the Cosplay Lounge also seems to depict cosplayers sitting... outside. Hmm.

—Café Seating Area This is a bit unclear — is there a cafe in the escape room? Is it just a cafe style seating area? Do you bring your food here? Do cosplayers get a roped-off seating section at the cafe? Either way I'm not sure why you would pay extra for it.

—Water Stations These are usually available in a bunch of places around EBX anyway.

•Priority Access to Cosplay Competitions Get first dibs on registration for the Just ‘Cos Cosplay Competition, featuring over $5,000 in prizes to be won!

Here's where it gets a little weird. Do the cosplay competitions at EBX book up fast? What if only people who paid the extra $150 got a spot in the cosplay competition? While that doesn't seem fair, it also doesn't really seem worth it. For reference, these are the prizes for the EBX cosplay comp:

Best costume: $200 EB Games Gift Card Runner up: $100 EB Games Gift Card Best Group: $400 EB Games Gift Card Runner Up Best Group: $150 EB Games Gift Card Judge's Choice: $100 EB Games Gift Card

While none of them even surpass the $299 you're going to be paying for entry to said competition, they're also gift cards. The page for the Ultimate Cosplayer Pass also promises you can: "Get up close and personal with our internationally acclaimed Just ‘Cos judges!" It's all a bit weird. But the 'perks' continue:

•Priority Access to Cosplay 360° Camera Jump the queue and capture every inch of your masterpiece using over 50 linked DSLR cameras

This is an attraction that's open to everyone on the show floor, you just get to jump the queue, which is never really that long as far as I've seen

•Glorious Souvenirs Remember the event for years to come with your choice between an EB Expo t-shirt or mug, plus a souvenir Ultimate Cosplayer Ticket!

I know all I've ever wanted from a gaming expo is a mug. The page also promises a vague "plus more", but overall as a cosplayer, I'm really not sure what the point of it all is.


EB Games' post announcing this ticket was met with criticism, and a number of critical comments have disappeared from the post, such as the one in the screenshot below.

After responding to a few people asking why critical comments had evidently been deleted, saying "Only comments which are offensive or contain expletives are removed", the response from the page elaborated a little more on why the ticket was so expensive:

"In previous years, we have not been able to offer the level of features included with the Ultimate Cosplay Ticket. As such, we have had to create additional space and hire additional services within the showgrounds. This does have a cost attached, and the pricing of the ticket reflects this."

A response to another comment claims: "The Secret Escape Room is a fully dedicated VIP room which includes much more than standard repair services."

As someone who fully advocates cosplayers being recognised and sometimes paid for their hard work, it's disheartening to see an event attempting to charge them for their passion. The perks offered by this expensive ticket are the sorts of things that any convention that wants to be cosplay-friendly should really be offering for free.

While we can be a high maintenance lot, with all our cosplay repairs and needing to sit down and all, cosplayers are an essential part of the convention landscape these days. They provide colour, fun and life to an event.

Attractions like the cosplay competition and costume showcase have the ability to draw crowds, and even just walking around near the event in costume can act as free advertising. With all the obvious benefits of having cosplayers at your event, is it really necessary to charge them obscene amounts of money on top of that?

Aussie cosplayer Eve Beauregard puts it best:


Comments

    I went last year, the whole thing is a bit shit.

      EB Games... is a bit shit.

        Being fair, shit is useful and costs far less...

        Though EB would surely give you a fucking awful trade in rate for shit...

        Went into an EB today for the first time since.... Watch Dogs release? So like 2 years?

        Was literally just picking up a couple of PC games they'd had online cheap for a change, literally had to walk in and grab a couple of prepaid for games yet the experience was just awful.

        Ok yes for a change your sale is actually a sale... But the fucking garish over loading of ugly ass signs, crowded registers, hearing the sales pitch for "game protection" and being asked if I was all good for preorders...

        Let alone telling me the email that I was told to bring in to pick up the order was useless and I needed to use some random reward card that is lucky is made it through my last wallet purge.

        The entire chain just needs to die really.

          My local EB is pritty good. The sings are there due to the June/Jully sales they have on, but I do agree that it is WAY over the top, and I recon it drives people away more than it dose bring them in.

          The pre-order pitch is always there. I mean, there selling video games. Its like Macers asking if you want fries or an up sized. Same goes for the disc protection stuff.

          Giving that EB is the only company currently selling exclusively retail games, and with big market shops, like Target and Kmart scaling back video games in there shops, I don't think EB should go. It should differently be changed though.

            JB HIFI owns the gaming industry. their games are cheaper than eb games. never need to price match with JBHIFI

    This move after all the discussion about how much is appropriate to pay cosplayers for the value to provide, how/when to actually pay them.
    "Here at EB, we thought we'd go the OTHER way! Cosplayers should be paying US to bring value to a 'con!"

      They've gotta find a way to pay for their underpaying employee tribunal charge.

    Seems this is just another case of EB price gouging their target market.

    You could remove the words "Expo's Ultimate Cosplayer Pass" from that headline and it would still be accurate.

      On top of this you could remove "a bit" from there and it would still be accurate.

    "In today’s gaming world, most people either are cosplayers, know a cosplayer or follow one on social media"

    I think the gaming world is quite a bit larger than the net you're casting.

      Out of the convention-going population? Yeah, nah.

        I go to conventions and I'm not into the whole cosplay scene at all. Like a bunch of other friends I know that are the same, we go for the games, panels and to catch up.

        Perhaps we are in the minority.

          Hayley, have you really just typecast your audience like that and also attempted to make one of them, who doesn't fit your idea of what a "gamer" is, feel stupid for saying they don't belong to your idea of the majority? That's disappointing.

          Cosplay and video games have an obvious interplay - that doesn't mean all gamers love cosplayers. I don't feel anything but indifference towards them personally.

          Yeah, I mean, I think its cool that cos-players are there for fun, you know, it's their hobby. But it wouldnt make a substantial difference to me whether they were there or not.

          I assume some people love checking out the cos-player and peoples hard work.

          Last edited 05/07/16 11:08 pm

    This does send a eerie message too cosplayers that EB Games view them as a liability, this is just all wrong. Gamers love cosplayers it would make more sense to facilitate that unburdened.

      I don't love cosplayers...

      But I don't love other gamers either so I'm assuming I'm part of a minority here.

        I think you're taking their comment too literally. Obviously they don't speak for everyone who attends conventions.

          I was making a bit of a joke - guess it didn't hit the mark!

    Preorder your tickets to get priority registration...

    Well fuck me. They found a way to move that shit into real life.

      It wouldn't suprise me if they tried to pass off this nonsense as just "Giving choice to the cosplayer" the same way microtransactions for cheat codes are just "Giving choice to the gamer who is time poor"

      Thanks for giving me to choice to pay for something that up until now was free. Its really quite pathetic.

      It's bullshit really. They may as well say that you can purchase your tickets now. Is there some other pre-order bonus?

        Now in 2017 you can preorder your preorder to get your preorder preorder bonus!

      You can get pre-order bonuses to the Assassin's Creed movie.
      http://www.kotaku.com.au/2016/05/of-course-there-are-pre-order-bonuses-for-the-assassins-creed-movie/

        I saw that... utterly reprehensible. Especially given the odds are stacked against the movie that it'll be a bit shit lol

    They can't be assed doing any quality control. Otherwise people would apply and just turn up in their Spiderman pajamas from Target and say "Yo i'm cosplayer'.

    Yeah - i'm pretty sure they had almost all of this at PAX last year as part of the ticket price?
    The only things missing were the shitty souveniers.

    In today’s gaming world, most people either are cosplayers, know a cosplayer or follow one on social media.

    Since when? I fit none of these categories. And a quick poll around many of my gaming friends also indicates most of them don't fit these categories either.

      And yet, you clicked on a story about cosplay. Crazy, right?

        I only clicked on it because this was the opening line and I wanted to comment on it because I believe you are incorrect in this statement. Crazy, right?

        I actually usually avoid any article that has the word "cosplay" in it.

        Last edited 05/07/16 6:01 pm

          Yeah same. Amazing how not everyone appreciates the whole cosplay scene. The fuck is wrong with us?

          I also clicked on it for the same reason, neither myself or any of my gaming buddies are even remotely interested in Cosplay

        Has anyone else noticed the insane amounts of hostility coming from the author in these comments?

        I mean sure, you can defend your opinion, but just as you were free to write this article, so too are commentators to be able to have a different view.

        I'd also like to point out that I'm not in any kind of cosplay scene but simply clicked on this article to see what EB has done this time exactly. Which you should be happy about, since it gave you a view and thus money just like the others here you're arguing with.

          Yeah she seems to have almost a bit of a superiority complex over it.
          Rather than most people know a cosplayer maybe it is the other way around and they are trying to seek their own acceptance by making it seem it isn't normal not too.

      Dude honestly, chances are you *do* know a Cosplayer, you just don't realise it :)

      Btw, nice to meet you my names Steve, I'm a casual cosplayer... very casual... but I do love to go to Supanova dressed up. Went as Two-Face last year, half my face torn off like a zombie chewed it. Got constant compliments too and people asking for photographs which was a real kick :D

      Now you know a cosplayer if even only by the internet lol :D

      Last edited 05/07/16 7:34 pm

      Lucky she said MOST and not ALL then hey? your cry for attention has been recognised though and I'm sorry your feeling left out

        Yeah some people seem to be offended when hayley said most people and that they are not most people, so naturally they get their jimmies rustled because they don't belong to this "most people" and she should have recognised them.

    PAX does it better. But that's no surprise :P

    While I totally understand them wanting to recoup some of the costs of the additional space etc... let's be honest, it's not like they'll be losing money as is. Waiting for them to say "due to feedback we'll be folding this increase in cost into ALL tickets! ALL TICKETS NOW AN EXTRA $50. BUT IT'S VALUE, FOLKS!"

    Also, why don't I get special treatment (not saying rest areas and repairs should be considered special treatment) for painting up a Warhammer army and bringing it along to cons etc? Aren't I also advertising for the company using my own hard-earned money and time? ;)

    Last edited 05/07/16 5:09 pm

    As someone who has been in Media Fandom since essentially birth back in 78 (Thanks mum and dad!) when did this whole cosplayer entitlement thing start? I couldn't imagine any of the cosplayers I've known over the last 39 years espousing views that they should be given special snowflake treatment and have their attendance be covered by the con because they enjoy dressing up.

    Paying people to come in costume that used to just be convention paying regulars? Could I please get paid to attend conventions because I'm an author and someone somewhere might enjoy my work?

    Forget having a Guest of Honour who might actually be the creator that the cosplayers base their work from, lets use the con money to have the equivalent of booth babes that had been pilloried at gaming conventions the last few years.

      Feel free to point out the part where I say cosplayers should be let in for free and/or paid to attend conventions. Did you even read the article, or are you just here to have a bit of a whinge?

        "As someone who fully advocates cosplayers being recognised and sometimes paid for their hard work, it’s disheartening to see an event attempting to charge them for their passion."

          Paid for work. For work.
          Attending a convention =/= work.
          Attending a convention as a guest with guest responsibilities = work.

          But this story isn't about this so feel free to take the conversation through to the linked post, where I'm sure "why should cosplayers get money for doing something they like" is discussed in depth.

        You do actually mention that they're not inviting cosplay guests in the second paragraph - implying that a cosplayer could be paid to attend the event to support cosplayers.

        I personally agree, cosplay is fun but people are taking this shit too seriously. If people don't like it then don't buy the ticket, but I also don't think it's at all reasonable to expect conventions to provide repair services for free?

          Maybe you think it's unreasonable to expect them to provide it, but the fact is that every other convention of this size, and a great number of smaller ones do provide said services for free. It could easily be argued to be industry standard at this point (and that's not including US cons where it's been standard for 5, 6 years).

          Obviously no one's being forced to buy the ticket, and no one's gonna die without a free repair room, it just shows that EBX is out of touch with a community that makes up a large number of their attendees.

            Yes. Clearly it's my opinion because j stated it was. You don't need to type You like that. You're awfully defensive that not everyone gets their pants off for cosplayers or thinks they should get things for free because, hey, other places do it!

            You're also quite perturbed that not everyone knows a cosplayer lol. Cosplay isn't a huge draw card or plus for everyone. It's not a big deal if other people disagree with you. If people don't like it then they can easily speak with their wallet and attend cons that are better suited to them. I don't think it's horrific to have one or two cons that don't cater specifically for cosplayers tbh.

              Author is a cosplayer so article is naturally biased regardless of facts.

            I doubt they are out of touch. They want to make money from people and gouging them for simple services is the best way to do it. They are banking of the stupidity of some people just to make a buck.

            Plus I wouldn't say a large numbers of attendees are exclusively cosplayers. Most people are there for games and bargains.

    It's like day 1 DLC, but for real life.

    Don't forget that this is EB we are talking about. The most over prices store in Australia for games. Any chance to screw people over for money and they will do it. The entire convention is just paying to be advertised to by EB games. Not sure why anyone would expect better from the scumbags at EB management.

      Let's be honest: for all of people's (sometimes fairly legitimate) issues with EB, selling a new product at RRP so they can make profit from it, not unlike most other businesses, is not 'screwing people over for money'. It always baffles me when people claim a business selling a product at a regular price is inherently evil just because other stores choose not to (and can actually afford to use them as loss leaders, like JB).

      It's funny how people dump on EB for this, but feel that indie stores that do/did the same thing were free from the same scrutiny, because they're 'indie', and 'just trying to make a living'.

      But yeah, this cosplayer pass is a bit shit.

    The whole concept of people dressing up to walk around an expo rather than attending the expo is all a little weird. I had a friend cosplay recently and her costume looked better when sitting (due to a tail). Literally sat in the middle of a convention center for two days. Shrug.

    Last edited 06/07/16 11:00 am

    For someone who is well known for wearing the same damn cosplay to every convention she goes to (or slight variants of it), Eve Beauregard needs to get off her soapbox, I'm probably going to get shit on for this but she shouldn't call herself a professional cosplayer, having one half decent cosplay that you wear to every convention and never wearing anything else just makes you look lazy in my opinion (not the same as someone who has an array of cosplays, e.g Yaya Han or Jessica Nigri and occasionally wears old cosplays to cons).

    As for the ticket itself, yeah the price is a bit silly, but I'm guessing it stemmed out of the increasing amount of Ultimate Gamers who are also cosplayers and having little facilities to aide them (in the UG room last year there was one dressing table with a mirror and lights for makeup/wig/contact touchups and tiny bathrooms for changing, the room catered to people who just wanted to relax/nap or play board games.

    I asked some of the event team at the expo what was up with it. They told me the ultimate cosplayer pass was never actually meant to be put up for sale at all. But they are well known for their dishonesty. UG loot was terrible this year, and when i complained responses ranged from "the vendors didnt give us a lot of free stuff this year" to "the handling of the bags was contracted out this year" and even "the events manager thought the BANDAIDS were a great idea" but all consistently said "make sure you leave us feedback so we can improve it next year" instead of really doing anything to fix it this year. One also let slip that EB has a manufacturing plant in china now so that they can do their own exclusive editions (so buyer beware)

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