What are the biggest differences between LGF 2006 and 2007?
This is a huge change year-on-year. Last year came late and publishers didn't really know what they could tangibly achieve at the Festival. We've approached publishers much earlier this year and we've had more resource.
Are you expecting more mainstream media coverage than last year?
We have appointed Cake Media as our PR agency, and that's another big change from last year. In 2006, we didn't have dedicated consumer press resource. That fundamentally changes the picture.
Cake will be judged on column inches and airtime – with a primary focus to get LGF in the mainstream press. When London Fashion Week is on, you step off a train and you can just feel that it's taking place. That's what we'd ideally love to achieve.
We've also sealed two deals with Channel 4 and Future Publishing, which we're very excited about. It's fantastic to get both of them on board. The big deal about London Games Festival is that it's not a closed trade or retail event. It's about getting the video games business in front of consumers and these deals represent a great way to do that.
Can you attract industry bigwigs – particularly to the ELSPA events?
The people we want there are CEOs and head marketing and PR people. Looking back to last year, it's fair to say that the ELSPA Forum with Lord Sainsbury just wasn't attended. The reasons for that are unclear, but we're much earlier out the blocks this year, and top brass in the industry will see much more communication.
Are you expecting major publisher announcements that companies have held off from Leipzig, E3 etc.?
I would hope so. We've told the publishing community that the London Games Festival should sit on their PR calendar just like E3, Leipzig, and the Tokyo Games Show. If they've got appropriate announcements to make that week, we want them to attribute it to LGF in their communication. My expectation is that will happen.
Publishers are keeping what they're doing tight to their chest. As an EA man, I don't know their details – that's between ELSPA and publishers, quite rightly. But some of the ideas I have heard are pretty high profile. Last year, EA took over Leicester Square for a Tiger Woods event and we'll be looking to do something on a similar scale.
What's the co-operation from retail been like?
We do have some retailers that have signed up already for activities. It would be fabulous for every retailer – particularly those with a London store – to be involved. If you look at online tournaments, they could have some fun around that in-store.