‘Boris Johnson is demolishing the spiritual home of the UK games industry’

Matthew Jarvis
‘Boris Johnson is demolishing the spiritual home of the UK games industry’

Rupert Loman has told MCV that the planned destruction of Earls Court Exhibition Centre will not hinder the growth of the EGX event.

The co-founder and CEO of Gamer Network, the parent of Eurogamer and host of the annual games show, was speaking ahead of the event's sixth iteration next weekend.

Asked how the event had evolved from its inaugural debut in London's Old Truman Brewery (the event visited Old Billingsgate Market in 2009, before settling at Earls Court one year later), Loman replied: Visually the event is barely recognisable now from the first one we put on in 2008 – although the founding principles are very much still present; we started with a vision of being ‘all about the games' and that is still the case.

What's changed is the scale – growing from 4,000 attendees to 80,000 attendees, moving venue multiple times and everything else that comes with the growth we've seen – the press coverage, the number of things to do and games to play are all orders of magnitude higher now. We started with playable games and not much else – now we have everything from cosplay, eSports and the careers fair to game jams, parties, retail stands, YouTuber signings and more.”

Loman also praised the influential nature of the event among both UK consumers and games firms.

For gamers it is a chance to get hands-on with new games to help them decide which games to buy this Christmas, or to compete at games they already own,” he explained. But more than that, it's a place for them to socialise and enjoy their passion for games in an inclusive environment and to be part of an amazing community.

For games companies it also has multiple benefits – live trials of games are proven to increase purchasing intent and it's great for publishers and developers to interact with the gaming community in a way in which isn't possible online. It's also a chance to see real gamers play their games and get invaluable insight to feed back into the development process.

It's great that we can have a major games event in the UK as a focal point for both gamers and the industry at the right time of the year.”

Firms closely involved with the four-day show include Virgin Media and GAME, which serve as headline and retail partners for the event respectively.

Loman went on to discuss EGX's sister show, EGX Rezzed, which will be moving from its Birmingham NEC home to London's Tobacco Dock in 2015.

Rezzed has just been announced for London in March and in partnership with BAFTA which is something we're really excited about,” he said. Bringing together an event that has such a great vibe alongside the most important awards show is going to be really interesting.”

He also offered reassurance that planned redevelopment of the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, approved by London mayor Boris Johnson in July, wouldn't damage the growth of EGX in 2015 – and would instead offer the event ‘room to grow'.

For the main EGX show in September we're going to announce the details next week, but we're very sad to be leaving Earls Court,” he told MCV. It's been a great home for EGX – and for ECTS before us – so in a way Boris Johnson and his cronies are demolishing the spiritual home of the UK games industry. That said, the new venue will bring new opportunities for the show and room to grow, so we're looking forward to getting on with it.

EGX truly has become the UK's video games event, and something I hope everyone is as proud of as we are.”

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