"Get behind Play.com Live"

It’s quick and easy to criticise but far harder to give credit where credit is due.

And that old adage is just the right way of describing some of the thoughts I’ve heard from inside the industry about Play.com Live.

Boring”, Empty”, Waste of time” were just some of the comments describing the Wembley event that I came across.

Sure it was no E3, it probably wasn’t even on par with Gamestars. As for ECTS, it didn’t have the full backing of all the publishers, so of course it was going to struggle to come close to those ‘halcyon days’.

But maybe we look at all three of those events with rose-tinted industry glasses. Each had their problems and each has since failed.

So it took big balls for Play.com to put on an event like this and from what I saw, it paid off.

I’ll declare my interests first. I now do some consultancy for Hill and Knowlton who organised much of the bash and those who attended would have seen The Sun’s logo around the place.

But I ensured the paper got involved in such an event because I was confident it would be a success.

And I judge that success not by how many publishers were there, not even by how many people came through the doors, but simply by the happy faces on everyone I saw there.

I’m not sure that that room was the correct venue, but from small acorns, mighty oaks grow. It was a great beginning and I put a lot of it down to an extremely reasonable ticket price, just six pounds for adults and three pounds for kids, which was a major contributing factor to the masses of young and old who attended.

Every event has to start somewhere and I’ve lost count of the stories I’ve read in MCV about the need for a UK public-facing event to showcase all the industry has to offer.

Well, this could well be it. It was put together in a short space of time, so imagine what could be achieved if people stopped being negative, looked at the bigger picture and got behind it for 2009.

If that many people can so obviously enjoy a small scale show, just think what could happen if every publisher threw its weight behind it for 2009.

The number of celebs turning up there and the resulting press coverage, also proves the reach that a larger, more consolidated Play.com Live can have.

You don’t need to have spectacular stands, you just need plenty of good old-fashioned consoles to play with and a fair number of decent titles to preview.

A good roster of bands providing some live music helps, and tickets priced sensibly rather than extortionately is a must.

Play.com Live might not have set the world alight, but it ticked all the boxes.

It was a competent and considered debut performance that Wembley Stadium would have been proud of.

And we should all get behind it for the future, rather than picking it apart simply because it wasn’t the complete article right from the kick-off.

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