GAME’s new consumer show has done more than ruffle feathers at Eurogamer.
Publishers are up in arms that the new Gamefest show will drain their budgets and create logistical problems if they back both events.
Last week we revealed more details about Gamefest, which takes place from September 14th to 18th.
The GAME-run Birmingham NEC show will open with two days of a closed-door store managers’ conference, but then open up into a consumer showcase for the following three days.
But Gamefest takes place just a week before the fourth Eurogamer Expo, which runs from September 22nd to 25th at London’s Earl’s Court.
Publishers are now torn between a new event from the UK’s biggest games retailer, and an established consumer show.
With just three days to move from one site to the other, many are unimpressed by the expected costs.
And they don’t relish the idea of showing consumers unfinished games, either.
“It’s a headache,” one publishing insider told MCV, speaking anonymously.
“We always support the GAME managers’ conference, but we use that to display parts of the game that we’re not ready to show consumers. We show code that isn’t for public consumption.”
Another said: “Having two big shows so close together creates a huge burden for us.
“We previously supported Eurogamer Expo, but we can’t not support the retail market leader. So effectively we have to build a separate stand for the public, or separate stands for both shows, or pay extra to quickly move from Birmingham to London. It’s an impossible decision.”
Eurogamer chief Rupert Loman told MCV he was “disappointed GAME is attempting to split the market”.
He said: “We don’t feel it’s going to affect our attendance, and from what we’ve heard it isn’t impacting what we will have exhibiting, or the quality of our show.
“Many are saying they will do the GAME show too, not instead of. But they face a challenge to do two events in one week, and having to increase their budget – history has shown us that isn’t successful for anyone.”
GAME last week said it can reach out to over 2.8m Reward Card holders when it comes to establishing Gamefest’s audience.
“However, it’s not just about scale, but the quality of the audience too,” said Loman. “We’ve got a strong track record, growing it from a community event to an established bigger show. GAME speaks about going after families and casual gamers, but from our point of view it’s about getting the evangelists that really matter in to see key new games first.”