E3 may be on everyone’s lips at the moment, but there’s a sizeable shindig due to take place a lot closer to home first.
The London MCM Expo has long since been a hit with movie and comic fans, and its relevance to the gaming community is growing every year. The first 2011 iteration runs from Friday, May 27th to Sunday, May 29th.
The event’s organisers are proud that games firms have used MCM to help assist with more immediate launches in the past. But with games like Gears of War 3 on the show floor, it is hoped that the expo can be even more useful in future.
“We hope publishers who are only just realising what MCM Expo has to offer will start to include us in their marketing plans for 2012,” says event promoter Bryan Cooney.
“A lot of what publishers do is product launch-specific but many consumers buy games because they follow a publisher. So they like to see all the titles yet to come out as well as those that are out now. Companies like Nintendo, Tecmo Koei and Capcom are always at the show reaching out to their fans.”
The show has been a big hit for years and it’s still growing. In 2010, attendance at the London expo rose by over 10,000 consumers, continuing four consecutive years of growth. The organisers hope to top 60,000 attendees this year.
In fact, Cooney says that the sheer size and diversity of the expo’s audience is instrumental in attracting new visitors.
“The consumer numbers for MCM Expo go up show on show,” says Cooney. “For publishers who want to go beyond hardcore male gamers, MCM Expo is perfect –we have a strong female demographic.
“The May show is strong and we always get a greater number of publishers for the October show as it’s the perfect fit for Q4.”
As with last year’s May expo, MCM will form part of the nationwide Nintendo Unleashed tour, in which the firm will give consumers hands-on time with its hottest products. This year, the platform holder will focus on the line-up for the recently launched 3DS, led by flagship title The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Some Xbox Live gamers have already tried out Gears of War 3 through the successful multiplayer beta that ran throughout the past few weeks. Now Microsoft will be giving the masses a taste of its hotly anticipated third-person shooter at next week’s May expo. Attendees will be able to try the game out ahead of its release later this year.
With Green Lantern signed up as the headline sponsor of this year’s show, expect WBIE to have a massive presence there with Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters. The publisher will also be showing off upcoming survival horror FPS F.E.A.R. 3 and offering further chances to play last month’s best-selling brawler Mortal Kombat.
The Japanese publisher will be catering to a wide range of audiences at MCM. For the hardcore action fans, there will be playable versions of Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3 and the very first showing of Bleach: Soul Ressureccion. The newly announced Champion Jockey will also be on display, catering to those with more casual tastes.
The online games firm’s MCM line-up will focus on two titles. Firstly, there will be the XBLA and PSN RPG Warlords, a remake of the classic 1989 Atari 2600 title. Players will also be able to go hands-on with Xbox 360, PS3 and PC title Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale, the latest RPG set in the Forgotten Realms universe.
MCM Expo will mark the European debut for Capcom’s Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, the enhanced iteration of the best-selling beat ‘em up. Players will be able to try out the new characters and experience the refined multiplayer. Marvel Vs Capcom 3 will also be playable for those who missed it earlier this year.
Making its first European appearance at the May expo will be Arcana Heart 3, Zen United and pQube’s anime-style girl-on-girl brawler. The publishers have planned a number of special events over the weekend, including tournaments and cosplay. There will also be a chance to play Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus and Gladiator Begins.