European games show ECTS 2001 was a disappointment, with few of the industry’s leading players in attendance. However, this year ECTS has given up trying to rival the leading US trade show, E3. Instead, it has become more consumer-focused. Partly as a result, many of the major firms have returned – and the 2002 event should be a success.
The ECTS 2002 electronic games show will take place at the end of this month.
The ECTS 2002 show takes place at London’s Earls Court from 29 to 31 August; the organizers and the games industry alike hope that this year’s event will erase last year’s disappointment. Many major publishers (including Sony, Nintendo and EA) snubbed ECTS 2001 in favor of their own events elsewhere.
The European games industry has long been neglected, even though Datamonitor expects it to generate software revenues of $6.7 billion in 2002 (almost on a par with the US). High costs and late release dates have put Europe at a disadvantage over the US and Japan, leaving ECTS far behind the US-based E3 show.
The poor location, on the outskirts of London, was also a factor in ECTS 2001’s failure. This year, organizer CMP Europe has moved ECTS back to Earls Court – and confirmed publishers include Activision, Capcom, Eidos, Konami, Midway, and Sony. However, Sony’s presence has kept Microsoft and Nintendo away. They will focus on E3 and on their own European shows.
ECTS 2002 will allow consumers in for the first time. Since E3 already provides the global games industry with a trade forum, it makes sense for ECTS to showcase new software to Europeans. Exhibitors can target trade and consumers, gaining a greater return on their budgets.
Sony will host the consumer segment, allowing people to play new titles from both itself and third party publishers. This is a sensible strategy, highlighting Sony’s strategy of keeping close relations with consumers. Impressing gamers with outstanding software is vital for Sony if it is to retain its market leadership in the long term.
ECTS is unlikely ever to be as important as E3. However, Sony’s presence should ensure sufficient interest to keep the show afloat. Next year, CMP might do well to stepping up the consumer focus still further, providing greater incentive for the industry’s giants to get involved.
Related research: Datamonitor, Global Electronic Games (DMTC0833)
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