According to an official statement from the organizers, the Games Market Europe retail game trade event, organized by UK Develop Conference creator Tandem Events and PR firm Barrington Harvey, and due to take place in London next month, has been cancelled just weeks before its scheduled September 6th-7th dates.
A joint statement released to Gamasutra from the two organizers explains: "As industries evolve so do the events that serve them and nothing demonstrates this more than the recent changes to E3 in the US. Whilst the Games Market Europe event format has previously proved popular in the UK, a decision has been taken to postpone this year's GME until 2007."
It continues: "In doing so, it gives us the chance to review the timing and specific format to ensure we deliver a high quality event in 2007 that reflects the UK games industry’s needs."
The decision follows reportedly weak support from exhibitors, but does not apparently rule out a similar event next year under the same name, as the statement makes clear. The news follows the cancellation of the spring independent retail event NASCR in the UK, and the more recent 'evolution' of the international E3 event in Los Angeles.
Games Market Europe began in 2005, following the collapse of the traditional European Computer Trade Show (ECTS) event and the ELSPA-organized European Games Network (EGN) event. Games Market Europe was purposefully low cost with standardized stand sizes used primarily for networking between retailers and publishers.
The cancellation of Games Market Europe will leave the UK without any retail or consumer games event in 2006, a far cry from the excess of ECTS during the mid ‘90s – when it was by far the largest European games expo and comparable to both the Tokyo Game Show and E3.
ECTS was downsized considerably in the late ‘90s amidst complaints of overly expensive stands and a chaotic atmosphere unsuitable to detailed business discussions – similar logic to that expressed during the recent downsizing of E3.
Despite numerous attempts to create a replacement London event, including consumer show Game Stars Live, the premier European expo has now become the Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany – the 2006 event of which is due to begin on August 23rd.