EGN / ECTS / GSL Quick Summary
   by Thomas Cap

My reports on the Games Convention in Leipzig aren’t (all) done yet, yet the next big show, or make that shows, were waiting: the industry-only events ECTS and EGN and the public fair running alongside (and beyond) EGN, Games Stars Live! , all of them taking place in London this week.

While the two industry fairs ended a few hours ago before the time of this writing Games Stars Live! This public even will continue until Sunday. (or make that continued, as the article won’t go online in time likely...)

Preparing our in-depth coverage and putting it online will take some time but for all our readers that simply can’t wait I will try to sum up the most important things in this article.

First off because I know this question was on many, many people’s minds: what impact did the new founded show have on the success of the ECTS? In my strictly personal and humble opinion: a devastating one. We have been to ECTS on the first and the last day of the show and while one has to wait for the official numbers we had the impressions that the halls were pretty much deserted. Except for the booth staff and the official representatives of the various companies I had the impressions that hardly any members of the press and the other branches of the industry dropped by for more than just a quick visit. I don’t want to predict anything yet but several other members of the press and representatives of companies I spoke to agreed that this years ECTS was maybe also the last one.

Till the gamepads give off clouds of smoke...

So what was featured at the shows? The truth is if you have been to the Games Convention in Leipzig you didn’t miss much. In fact you likely even saw more than could be seen in London hence more than one company skipped London and are likely waiting for the outcome of the battle between EGN/GSL and ECTS. Sony Computer Entertainment, THQ anyone?

The games shown were pretty much the same (but still as awesome) as shown in Leipzig and the only outstanding title I’m aware of that was playable for the first time was World of Warcraft. Ok – for many people this is more than enough already though...

In hardware we yet again saw the Gametrak in action (with the same positive feedback from everyone that tried it) and not one but two new handheld gaming platforms were revealed in Europe. Both the Zodiac from Tapwave - already available in the states - and the Gizmondo from Tiger Telematics were shown. On first look they aim at the same audience, both offer unique features though: the Zodiac is a PDA with all the business application you are used to yet engineered towards gaming and multimedia as well. The Gizmondo on the other hand features a 3 Megapixel digital camera, a built-in GPS and offers limited Messaging options (for those you need an optional SIM card though) is good at gaming and multimedia as well but lacks some of the usefulness for business and/or office application users. Both will be released later this year.

Behind the scenes

Unlike in Leipzig though there was not only a dedicated area for industry members but they in fact made an event of its own out of it, the EGN. There one could sit with the publishers and listen to them praising their own titles and sometimes also hear them speak disparagingly about their competition. About those titles that really deserved the praise you will hear (or read) more soon – just keep visiting ;)

London or Leipzig

If one would ask me what my feelings are about Videogame fairs in Europe I would definitely say something like “The king is dead, long live the king” but while you might guess that the “old” king was ECTS you are wrong if you think I consider EGN and GSL the single most important European event this year. By all means the Games Convention was more important for the publishers and gamers alike this year and that is no small award for a fair that opened its doors for the first time only three years ago and even “worse” doesn’t take place in an English speaking country.

On the other hand you have to take in credit that the competition of two events, taking place the same time and in the same city didn’t do either that much good and Leipzig profited from the “wait-and-see” attitude of several major industry representatives. I think I will do some “waiting-and-seeing” myself – only time can tell if maybe things will change again.