Some publishers in Europe have admitted to being a bit miffed over GAME deciding to expand it's annual store managers’ conference into a full-blown consumer show in Birmingham, especially since it ends just a few days before the Eurogamer Expo starts at London’s Earl’s Court.
Speaking anonymously to MCV, various publishers have told the site that with the announcement of Gamefest, attending both shows could "drain their budgets and create logistical problems." This leaves publishers scrambling to decide whether to back UK’s largest industry retailer, or Eurogamer's established consumer show.
“It’s a headache,” one publisher said. “We always support the GAME managers’ conference, but we use that to display parts of the game that we’re not ready to show consumers. We show code that isn’t for public consumption.”
“Having two big shows so close together creates a huge burden for us," added another publishing source. "We previously supported Eurogamer Expo, but we can’t not support the retail market leader. So effectively we have to build a separate stand for the public, or separate stands for both shows, or pay extra to quickly move from Birmingham to London. It’s an impossible decision.”
Eurogamer chief Rupert Loman said he was “disappointed GAME is attempting to split the market," in this manner, yet doesn't feel Gamefest will affect EuroExpo's attendance.
"We don’t feel it’s going to affect our attendance, and from what we’ve heard it isn’t impacting what we will have exhibiting, or the quality of our show," he said. "Many are saying they will do the GAME show too, not instead of. But they face a challenge to do two events in one week, and having to increase their budget – history has shown us that isn’t successful for anyone.
“However, it’s not just about scale, but the quality of the audience too. We’ve got a strong track record, growing it from a community event to an established bigger show. GAME speaks about going after families and casual gamers, but from our point of view it’s about getting the evangelists that really matter in to see key new games first.”
GAME stated it can reach over 2.8 million Reward Card holders in order to establish the audience for Gamefest, which takes place September 14 through 18. The first two days will hold the annual closed-door store managers’ conference, and the following days it will open to the public.
The Eurogamer Expo runs from September 22 through 25.