UK Trade Shows

First Game Zone Live, now ECTS and GDCE. Even SCoRE, the retail arm of the industry’s annual excuse for a big piss-up, is no more. Are there any legs remaining in the UK trade show?

After last year ECTS may have been more of a mercy killing, but it seems almost inexplicable at a time when Europe is pushing up the list of the world’s biggest games markets we can’t hold a good show. Germany has the apparently excellent GC (stands for “games convention” – gotta love that German efficiency), but that barely registers on the radar of most who would prefer to wait for E3 and Tokyo Game Show where the big guns come out to play. Germany aren’t exactly the hotbed of development in, uh, development either. The US and Japan might be the spiritual homes of gaming but when so many influential developers are based around Europe – Rockstar North, Ubisoft, Rare, Lionhead, Core Design, and others have made billions for the industry – why can’t even a public show where they charge for entry be a success?

E3, apart from a handful who’ll cough up $300 for a pass, is trade-only and none of them pay for entry, but it still remains incredibly successful. TGS strikes the balance by having a day for the trade and then makes some more money by having two days for the public. Last year they charged £12 per person for access to Game Stars Live and it was packed for the Thursday and Friday (both school days) so I dread to think how many they pulled in for the Saturday…

I suppose I shouldn’t try the price of admission angle since I get into every show I can free and don’t pay them anything, but I still find it baffling that we can’t make it work. Then again I look at our trains, buses, postal service, health service, and I’m not actually that surprised anymore.

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