UK Games Expo 'critical to growth of gaming industry'

Last month’s show enjoyed its biggest turnout to date, with a 65 per cent increase in exhibitors and attendees.
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The UK Games Expo continues to play a vital role in driving the growth of the games industry in the UK and worldwide, according to the show’s organisers.

The three day event held last month at Birmingham’s NEC saw tabletop game publishers, retailers and enthusiasts come together for what has been championed as its biggest show to date.

According to organiser statistics, the 2016 show enjoyed between 60 to 65 per cent increase in consumer attendance on last year’s event.

Having moved from the Hilton to the NEC venue for the first time, the show also saw a stark increase in exhibitor numbers with the likes of Esdevium and Coiledspring Games taking larger spaces.

“In the last few years, we have gone from 80 to nearly 200 exhibitors, a 60 to 65 per cent growth in exhibitors alone,” Mick Pearson, head of press and public relations at UK Games Expo told ToyNews.

“For us the show keeps getting bigger and bigger. We even have our own awards ceremony now which generates a lot of interest among the gaming community.”

Over 25,000 attendees came to the show over the three days, placing it among the top four biggest board gaming events in the world.

Encouraged by the success of this year’s show, organisers have now set their sights on further growth, with the aim of one day rivalling Germany’s Essen Spiel.

“We have proven ourselves to be a critical part of the UK games market and the market worldwide,” continued Pearson.

“We have known for a few years that we are influencing things, and with more visitors from overseas including China and Australia, we are confident of a successful future for the show.”

This year’s event boasted one of its largest family gaming areas to date, allowing fans to engage in a menu of different titles.

Pearson added: “We were keen on having a large interactive family area as that is where the future of gaming is. We see cross-generational interest in this show each year, and our hope is that this will have a domino effect, encouraging more and more youngsters to take up the hobby.”

Esdevium Games had a major presence at the 2016 event, with an 800 square foot stand.

“It’s fantastic to see that specialist games have now grown to a size for such a show to exist in the UK,” said Esdevium’s managing director, Steve Buckmaster.

“The Expo has really moved up a level this year, with so much going on and we are very proud to have played our part in that.”

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