EG Expo: “Not many places can take an event of this size”

By Patrick Garratt
22 September 2011 12:39 GMT

Speaking on the morning of the first day of Eurogamer Expo 2011, Eurogamer managing director Rupert Loman hints at future direction’s for Britain’s largest games event.

Eurogamer Expo 2011 is huge. For the first time, the show has taken over the main space of London’s Earl’s Court, and packs so many incoming triple-A games it’s an embarrasment of animated riches.

There are plenty of other aspects to EG Expo this year as well, such as a beefed up Indie Arcade, tournaments and more, with further extensions planned again for 2012.

We caught up with Eurogamer MD Rupert Loman to ask about this year’s show and plans for the future.

VG247: This is much bigger than last year. Is it everything you set out to achieve?

Rupert Loman: I think it is. We’ve just opened the doors and we’ve got a couple of things to fix, but we’re very happy with how it’s going.

Did you get all the games you wanted?

Yeah. The last one we announced was Modern Warfare 3, and I think that gave us the full set in terms of all of this year’s big games for Christmas.

Where does it go after this?

There aren’t that many places that can take an event of this size now. We’re going to do another one at Earl’s Court next year, and we’ve just announced the dates as September 27-30, 2012.

There’s more space to grow within Earl’s Court in terms of adding new features and different aspects to the show. If you look at some of the cool stuff we’ve got this year, the Retro Zone is new, the Indie Arcade is improved, the Career Fair is improved and there are far more tournaments and giveaways. I think as well as just having games to play, we really want to build up the community and other aspects of the show.

Yes, there’s going to be another one.

Will you lean more heavily on the tournament side? That could be a big growth area.

Yeah. We’ve got World Cyber Games here this year, and I think that’s the first step to doing a bit more on the tournament side. We’ve also got MMOs here for the first time, with Guild Wars 2, Rift, End of Nations and Star Wars: The Old Republic, so I think the PC side is going to grow as well.

Did you feel any impact from GAMEfest this year?

Beyond the initial announcement and the disappointment that the events were so close together in terms of dates, I don’t think we impacted each other that much. We’ve sold well over 30,000 tickets, so we’ve got no issues there, and we’ve got every publisher supporting us heavily. We’ve got great exclusives, things that have never been anywhere else in the UK or Europe. Generally we had no real issues; I think they’re pretty different offerings. People that have been to both can see the difference, and we should be very happy and confident with what we’ve achieved.

You had the Apprentice here last year, which was awesome. Do you have anything lined up in a similar vein for this year?

Nothing like the Apprentice, but we’ve got a hell of a lot of media here. We’ve got Sky News filming all day; ITN are here; we’ve got about 1,000 other bloggers and media here. Huge press attendance, but I think the Apprentice was a one-off.

Do you see this becoming a Europe-wide community event as opposed to just being a UK thing?

I think that we’d like to see where else we can run a Eurogamer Expo, and obviously we have websites in lots of different countries, but most countries have their own strong shows; Germany has gamescom, Spain has Gamesfest, France has Paris Games Week, and so on. So, only if it made a lot of sense.

Also, it’s very difficult to run an event close to where we live. I think for us to take it overseas would be very tricky.

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