It’s some years since London had a dedicated parks and attractions trade show. So was there anything of interest at this January at a new event called EAG Expo?
The letters stand for European Amusement and Gaming and the new show was held over the same dates (January 26 to 28) as the established IGE/ATEI show across town at Earls Court, which some coin-op professionals think has become too casino-orientated in recent years.
Arcades revenues still matter to some British attraction operators, particularly those at the seaside, and so a token selection of park owners usually make it over to ATEI each year, many of them still in town from the BALPPA dinner the night before.
Those that chose to make the longer journey from central London to EAG Expo at ExCel, part of the Docklands district of the capital, would have found a flat show floor with wide aisles. This meant the show seemed less intense than ATEI, where the high concentration of noisy gaming machines has been known to irritate the odd BALPPA member nursing a hangover.
In amongst the line-up of exhibitors was a handful of members from ALES-UK (Amusement and Leisure Equipment Suppliers of the United Kingdom) including Tornado International, Formula K, Elton Games and Pan Amusements. It was, however, names such as Sega, Namco, Electrocoin, Sound Leisure and LAI Games that dominated the hall.
By the end of its three-day run, EAG Expo had clocked up nearly 5,000 visitors, so will be considered a success by its backers, including the BACTA trade association and InterGame magazine. It may well have an impact on IGE/ATEI in the years to come, especially now that the Earls Court site’s day are numbered.
However, the politics of the coin-op industry will matter little to most park professionals and neither show will go any way to matching ATEI’s days as an all-encompassing amusement industry trade show (long before the likes of the Euro Attractions Show existed). If, however, you’re around next year for the BALPPA Dinner, have an arcade or are flying in or out of the nearby London City Airport, then EAG Expo might just be worth a look.