The gaming industry is getting bigger and bigger and as it grows, so too does its calendar of trade show events. With EGX increasing in popularity every year perhaps it’s time to wonder whether the UK’s biggest gaming expo could be about to break into to the gaming mainstream.
EGX started in 2008 and has gone from strength to strength in the years since, in its first year the show was attended by 4000 people. This year the show was attended by 75,000 people. The huge increase in attendance has been matched by support from developers, both triple a and indie alike. This year the show floor saw a huge list of playable games, as well as sessions from major developers and appearances from video game personalities. This, more than ever, is a sign that the gaming industry is paying attention to and wants to be a part of EGX.
One of the most notable personalities at this year’s event was Shuhei Yoshida, who both appeared at the show and gave a talk as part of the annual dev sessions. Yoshida was not the only major gaming personality at the show however. There were also appearances and talks from the likes of Naughty Dog, Creative Assembly and David Bateman (the voice of Agent 47 in the Hitman games.). These are big names in the gaming industry and they drew big attention and crowds to EGX and the bigger the show gets, the bigger the personalities it will attract. Whilst it doesn’t have a bill the size of something like PAX its 2015 programme was certainly impressive and that programme is growing with every year.
Another thing that EGX has in its favour is that its open to the public. With gaming becoming a more popular industry by the day, the general public, the people who are buying the games, are being shown more and more by developers. And, in most cases*, there is no better marketing for a game than playing it. This means EGX is another in the list of the many opportunities for developers to go out and let the consumers demo the games in the hope that they will buy the full release.
It seems like there are many reasons why EGX could be verging on being the next big gaming trade show. It’s getting strong support from Devs and gaming personalities alike, its seen large amounts of foot fall over the past few years and that foot fall only seems to be growing. There’s just one problem and, unfortunately for EGX, that problem is the same problem faced by many other Mid-level gaming expos. Many in the industry believe that we are getting closer and closer to expo saturation point, in short: there are too many trade shows.
The problem with the growing number of gaming trade shows is that there is only ever a certain amount of fresh, interesting content to be seen at them. Already shows like EGX see developers bringing previous builds (Gamescom builds, for example) of their software to the show. Eventually this means that the amount of brand new content that gamers want to see and get their hands on is being spread across many expos. The same can be said of game reveals and exclusive show floor features. The wow factor is being grasped at by many different Expos and it’s hard to see how any one of them comes out stronger for it.
Ultimately if any trade show is going to become the next big one id say EGX has a good chance, its scaling itself up well year over year and developers, both indie and triple a, seem to enjoy or value it enough to show it support. The bigger question perhaps is not whether any one trade show will break into the big leagues, but whether the big leagues can take any more players.
*Unfortunately, not all games work as well, when demoed, as we are lead to believe they would through trailers and screenshots. Meaning that in some instances playing the game at a trade show would be a more negative experience than just watching the trailer on a big trade show screen.