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London show gains strength

July 22nd by Johnny Minkley

The UK industry this week united behind new trade event Games Market Europe, as the final push towards the crucial August 31st-September 1st London show began in earnest.

Electronic Arts became the latest major publisher to sign up for GME a few days ago. The Chertsey-based publisher joins the increasingly swelling ranks, which now includes Ubisoft, NCsoft, Codemasters, Buena Vista, Pinnacle, Just Distribution, Digital Jesters, Morpheme, Mastertronic, Rising Star, Idigicon and Phoenix.

After the collapse of EGN, ECTS and SCoRE, GME has since managed to whip-up support with its back-to-basics approach, striking a chord across all sectors.

And with six weeks to go to the event, trade heavyweights have issued a rallying cry to the rest of the industry to throw its support behind GME to ensure the UK retains a vital annual trade component.

“The more people who get behind it, the better it will work,” said GAME’s UK MD Lisa Morgan. “It’s important to have a conference in the UK. The timing is good and it gives us a better opportunity to take local managers along.” And publishers have reflected this support. “It’s a great opportunity to promote products and raise our profile,” said NCSoft Europe boss Geoff Heath.

“We've just started our publishing operations in the UK and GME will be a good chance for customers to meet our team,” added Matt Carroll, Buena Vista Games’ country director.

“We’re really pleased to be there – it’s a great opportunity to showcase our Q3 titles,” revealed EA VP & country director Keith Ramsdale. “GME will allow us to reach many of our indie and export contacts and solidify our Xmas plans,” commented Ubisoft UK marketing boss Jon Rosenblatt.

Co-organised by ECTS veteran Andy Lane and Barrington Harvey PR, the event has been praised for its choice of location (the Business Design Centre in Islington), the relative cheapness of stands and free admission. But the promise of a pared-down, quiet show conducive to business – a far cry form the deafening pyrotechnics of E3 - has also drawn much of the positive feedback.

“It wasn’t a difficult purchasing decision to make. It’s cost effective for us to be there and we’re happy to support it,” said Pinnacle MD Peter Sleeman. For a full report on the progress of Games Market Europe see page 22.

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