As the MCM Expo returns to London, publishers and platform holders will be showcasing their titles directly to consumers. James Batchelor provides a run-down of what gaming fans can expect…
While the Midlands event is also popular, it’s the London iteration of the MCM Expo that thousands look forward to.
Held in the city’s ExCeL centre, this twice-yearly show is a celebration of all things related to movies, comics, manga and more.
Given the crossover between demographics, games are becoming an increasingly important part of the expo and this year is no exception.
From publishers to platform holders, some of the industry’s biggest companies are preparing the products they’ll be showing off at the upcoming May expo, as well as gauging the public’s reaction as they plan ahead for the event’s larger October counterpart.
Event promoter Bryan Cooney says: “May’s London MCM Expo is going to be a blast for everyone taking part. The advance ticket sales are already up 30 per cent compared to last year so smashing the 40,000 consumers we saw over the two days in 2009 looks a certainty.
“We are so pleased to have some great publishers on board. Plans for October’s show are already well underway with a record number of publishers registering their interest, including Nintendo, Tecmo Koei and Ubisoft which are already confirmed.
“If publishers keep supporting London MCM Expo, it will be without doubt the number one consumer event for video games.”
* Dragon Quest IX
* Monster Hunter Tri
* Professor Layton
* Super Mario Galaxy 2
* Sin and Punishment
* Samurai Warriors 3
* WarioWare DIY
“This is part of our Nintendo Unleashed gamer’s tour where we are visiting the biggest events in the country where gamers’ might be found,” says Nintendo UK’s head of communications Rob Saunders.
“We want to show that Wii and DS have titles that even the most hardcore gamer can enjoy and feel challenged by – and MCM Expo really gives us the opportunity to showcase those.
“We hope that the attendees enjoy playing these titles, along with all the other awesome games we’ve got.”
* Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
* Transformers: War for Cybertron
Activision will stand out at the show thanks to two of its most successful licences and its newest IP.
“We are delighted to announce that both Blur and Transformers: War for Cybertron will be shown at this years MCM Expo,” says Activision brand manager Natalie Giles.
“Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions will also be in a dedicated area and we are excited to be able to showcase all of these highly anticipated titles to consumers.”
MCM Expo is set to have the world’s first playable demo of Transformers.
While the publisher won’t be showing off any new games, it will have a strong presence thanks to some viral marketing for Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands.
There will be giant banners in the main hall and special masquerade sponsorship with Prince of Persia goodies, with a poster and discount voucher for the game given to the first 5,000 attendees. The MCM show guide will also promote the game.
As an extra treat for fans, Yuri Lowenthal – the voice of the Prince – will be attending and signing posters.
Brand manager Jan Sanghera says: “The MCM Expo has evolved over the years and it’s a great way to target a young audience of people who love games, manga and films. We hope to further raise awareness for The Forgotten Sands and remind attendees that the game is on sale.”
Konami will be holding the UK Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game National Championship and the Yu-Gi-Oh! DS National Championship throughout the weekend.
Fans will be able to battle it out with both the trading cards and the publisher’s most recent DS release, Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2010.
Konami hopes to see up to 394 entrants for each tournament, who will be whittled down until a national champion has been found.
The champion will then go on to play in either the card tournament’s European Championship or the DS World Finals.
RISING STAR GAMES
* No More Heroes 2
* Samurai Shodown Sen
“The MCM Expo is the largest consumer event of this kind in the UK and provides us with a unique and direct contact with our core consumers,” comments product manager Yen Hau.
“It is a very relaxed atmosphere and you can genuinely tell people about your games in an upfront and friendly manner.
“As it is not a dedicated games event, the people who attend just want to have fun and see what is new, so there is no pressure to ‘out-perform’ another publisher or say who had the best game on show. We hope to build upon our already strong relationship with this key market audience for Rising Star Games.”
* Quantum Theory
Tecmo Koei will be leading with a playable version of Quantum Theory – the first time gamers have been able to get hands-on with the game outside of the Tokyo Game Show.
The publisher will also be selling a limited edition figurine of Kasumi from Dead or Alive: Paradise.
“For us MCM Expo is mainly about having a place where our fans can come and play the new games and meet and greet with our staff,” says TKE’s sales and marketing vice president Will Curley.
“We get great feedback from the visitors and we can also source some nice items for them from Japan. It helps create an all-round experience of Tecmo Koei – there’s a lot more to our franchises than just the games.”
AND THE REST
* MCM Expo will be aiming to set a Guinness World Record for the largest handheld game console party.
Attendees are invited to bring their DS and a game on May 29th in the hopes of breaking the record set by Australia back in October 2007.
As part of this Nintendo will be giving consumers the chance to win one of five DSi XLs, with other random prizes up for grabs from other exhibitors.
* Namco Bandai will be supporting the Manga Entertainment stand with demo pods for Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Heroes 3 and Dragon Ball: Origins 2.
* Hasbro will be showcasing a playable version of XBLA title Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers, based on the popular Wizards Of The Coast trading card game. The firm will also be promoting the upcoming launch of the PC version, due this summer.
Wizards of the Coast’s assistant brand manager Lupita Garcia says: “London Expo is a good event for us to be at, where we aim to reach a wide audience to showcase both the cards and Duels of the Planeswalkers.”
* Turtle Entertainment will be running professional gaming tournaments as part of the ongoing Electronic Sports League’s ESL Pro Series for the UK.