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PREVIEW: MCM Expo

Ben Parfitt
PREVIEW: MCM Expo

The London MCM Expo, the UK’s largest entertainment consumer event, is now firmly established as London’s Comic-Con. This is a genre-spanning showcase of cult entertainment and popular culture that gives visitors the chance to play, watch and preview the latest games, sci-fi shows, anime, manga and comics.

But gaming will be a key component of this month’s London MCM Expo which runs from Friday, October 29th to Sunday, October 31st. The show represents the close of the 2010 London Games Festival for consumers.

As well as boasting Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood as the event’s official sponsor, the MCM Expo will see Nintendo, EA, Ubisoft, Tecmo Koei, Capcom, Warner Bros, Namco Bandai, Atari Europe, PQube, Zen United and Rising Star Games attend. Indie developer Curve Studios will showcase upcoming titles while online retailer ShopTo.net will run a series of competitions and hand out freebies.

The show’s growing games content – which outdoes that of many specialist events – is a major factor in driving up attendance year-on-year. The last London MCM Expo back in May broke attendance records with 43,000 visitors, and we are now hoping to top the 50,000 mark.

The demographic range is also worth noting. While the vast majority of visitors are in the games industry’s prime 11- to 30-year-old target audience, the MCM Expo has also succeeded in attracting a strong female presence. Around a third of all visitors at the last show were female.

This dramatic increase in visitor numbers has not only resulted in the Expo expanding its overall floor space, but this month’s show will, for the first time, run across three days. Meanwhile, the number of stage zones has been increased to five, including the 1,000-seat MCM Expo Theatre and a dedicated stage for video game panels and presentations.

While the attendance of major games publishers, movie studios, anime distributors, top comic artists and writers provides a strong draw to visitors, the London MCM Expo is also well known for its events. For example, the upcoming show will play host to both the prestigious Eagle Awards for comics and publishing, and the EuroCosplay Championship Final. Here, 30 heat winners from 18 different countries will be competing for Europe’s cosplay dress-up crown.

Awareness of the London MCM Expo has also been growing thanks to extensive advertising across specialist magazines and websites, national and international media coverage and a vocal fan community that generates a huge volume of social media buzz. This month’s show will also be backed by advertising on the London Underground for the first time, with escalator ads at Oxford Circus, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Tottenham Court Road and Covent Garden, as well as four-sheet posters at various stations across the network.

The London MCM Expo’s ongoing growth in scale, prestige and visitor numbers has made the Excel-based show the ideal platform for the games, film and comic book industries to promote their latest product to the UK audience, as well as a must-see event for Britain’s many anime, manga and cosplay fans.

The London MCM Expo is the closest that this country has to the famous San Diego Comic-Con. It is now, definitively, London’s own Comic-Con.

WHO'S THERE?

Nintendo
The platform holder will show off some of its biggest upcoming Wii and DS games, including Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Mario Sports Mix and GoldenEye 007.

EA
Publishing giant Electronic Arts will showcase two of its biggest core games at MCM this year – the recently-released Medal of Honor reboot and upcoming horror game Dead Space 2.

Ubisoft
The show’s sponsor is promoting Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood at MCM this year, with the voice behind the game’s protagonist, Ezio (Roger Craig Smith), on hand to sign autographs.

Tecmo Koei

The Japanese firm is keeping its MCM line-up a secret for now, but the publisher did promise that some of its ‘biggest franchises’ will be on show.

Capcom
A regular at the MCM Expo, the Capcom team is set to show off the upcoming Marvel vs Capcom 3 (running on arcade machines no less) and the next in the popular Japanese game series, Sengoku Basara.
 
Warner Bros
The media giant returns to the MCM Expo this month with two titles – Super Scribblenauts on DS and kids action adventure game Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

Namco Bandai
The Tekken publisher often has a big presence at MCM, and this year is no exception with Enslaved, Dragon Ball, Pacman Party, Naruto Shippuden, Despicable Me and Hello Kitty on display. Exclusive goodies will be available for visitors to the stand, while gamers can take advantage of special offers in the shopping corner.

Atari
This publisher will be showcasing its new PSN, XBLA and PC title Blade Kitten – based on the comic book series by Steve Stamatiadis. The game will be playable on both PS3 and Xbox 360 at a branded Blade Kitten stand.

PQube/Zen United
The latest in the popular BlazBlue series, Continuum Shift, is at MCM courtesy of PQube. Attendees can play the game and even buy exclusive BlazBlue merchandise from the stand.

Rising Star Games
MCM Expo wouldn’t be the same without Rising Star, and the firm will be bringing many of its biggest upcoming titles to this month’s event – including Ivy the Kiwi on DS and Wii. The publisher will also be running daily challenges on the game’s multiplayer mode, with the winner receiving a copy of the game and a story book that’s not available outside of Japan.

Curve
The indie developer has a large stand to help promote its PSN title Explodemon, which arrives on PS3 towards the end of the year. The game’s developers will be at the show offering a range of prizes.
 
ShopTo
Online retailer ShopTo hits the MCM Expo with an array of titles on show. These include PlayStation Move games, as well as Gran Turismo 5, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and Two Worlds II. The firm is also giving away 20 show tickets on ShopTo.net.

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