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Show collapse shames UK

By Stuart Dinsey
In less than 12 months, the market has moved from a land-grab between rival show organisers and trade body ELSPA to the collapse of four events – ExCeL consumer show Game Zone Live having also just been cancelled (MCV 1/4).

Pressure is now mounting on ELSPA to come up with a plan that safeguards the European Games Network (EGN) event launched at ExCeL last year, with MCV understanding that initial talks have been positive.

Indeed, it is possible that EGN will run at ExCeL on September 1st and 2nd as originally planned. But CMP certainly won’t be back. Its complete withdrawal from the games market has resulted in event director Andy Lane being made redundant, the rest of his four-strong team being re-deployed within CMP.

ECTS departs after debuting in 1988. In its prime it boasted 18,000 square metres and some 250 exhibitors.

Development event GDCE, had been growing until the war with sundry ExCeL events last year, including the failed European Developers Forum. Launched in 2000, it attracted over 800 delegates two years ago.

The end of SCoRE, after nine years, also leaves the independent retail community without a dedicated show.

“Markets evolve. But what has happened is a real shame,” said Lane. “My belief is that there needs to be a trade event, or events serving different communities, and I’m sure new opportunities will emerge.”

With the UK so influential for the rest of Europe and beyond, there is no question that any extended lack of unity could prove damaging in terms of local investment and media attention.

Indeed, MCV understands that even the Department of Trade and Industry has raised concerns about the message the UK games industry is sending out to competing games economies such as Germany and France.

“I just can’t understand it,” reflected Nintendo’s UK boss David Yarnton. “It’s a poor reflection on the UK.”

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