EAG: great show considering…

01/02/2012

Everyone who was at the EAG show last week deserved a slap on the back just for making it through the last 12 months or so and emerging, still smiling and ready to do business. Nobody can deny it has been tough and with the uncertainty still surrounding MGD and what it will mean for operators – particularly of Cat C machines – well, the struggle continues unfortunately.

Then we had the Barcrest announcement in the last few days leading up to the show which didn’t help, giving the impression that the old industry is being chipped away, while across town at Earls Court the stands seemed to get bigger and shinier. However, it is my strong opinion that we have to look forwards and not backwards as the opportunities are still there and may continue to grow – particularly for those companies willing to diversify, specialise or simply move in to fill the gap where other bigger companies can no longer be commercially viable.

As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, there was a lot of talk on the show floor about the larger UK operators, Sceptre and Gamestec. Sceptre is working with Blueprint part of the Gauselmann group and Gamestec is apparently in talks with Novomatic. There was even talk that Bell-Fruit might be an acquisition target. As I said before – I have no proof of any of this, it was just show talk but it sets up an interesting situation for the UK market with operating and manufacturing interests being held by overseas giants. Where would that leave the rest of the market?

Undoubtedly MGD is a more real and pressing issue and I urge everyone who has not signed the petition to do so – details can be found on this site. It is unfortunate that it gave buyers a legitimate reason to hold fire on purchasing until we know what the rates will be in March’s Budget. Despite this, business was being done at EAG, I heard the likes of AMG (great to hear that Terry Farr has joined them) did very well indeed.

There were some fantastic games on display at this year’s show. UDC had a great stand teeming with top titles including Tower of Hanoi and Infinity Blade FX. It was a great touch having a QR code on all the games so that the brochure can be downloaded onto iPhones. UDC were not the only ones to do this and I thought it was a clever idea.

Harry Levy Amusements also showed some stunning machines. I liked the retro feel and look of High Wire and Helter Skelter the two new 12 player pushers and Tutti Frutti with its colour changing ice cream sundae top sign is a classic in the making. Electrocoin’s stand was buzzing as usual and had a huge array of machines, including Stern pinball’s latest, which never seemed to be free for me to have a go. To take a look at the full range you can download the brochure here electrocoin brochure

Sega’s stand literally had something for everyone. Hats off to the guys who must have worked so hard to set up the stand and prepare all those products. I personally loved the Ice Age whacker, which I thought was a great idea. I mentioned the urinal game last week, but there was so much more in between. Check out the video on the home page for more details as it features the stand.

Bandai Namco also seems to get bigger every year and this year was Pac Man year for me. There was a fantastic range of games including a fabulous four-player video game and a new range of Pac Man plush from the ever increasing team in the prize division.

I can’t mention all the stands and products here – so I apologise if you are not mentioned in this report. Please just send me an email with your product details and impressions of the show and I will make sure you get a big splash next week. I will also cover music, redemption and kiddie rides in detail next week with a separate round up of components to follow.

I loved this “Oscar” style football table from SAM Leisure with its gold and silver players. It had a touch of the Beckhams about it. Gary and Liam seemed to be doing very well at the show and Gary made the mistake of telling me that he made a sale of 6 new tables off the back of a used machine enquiry from Coin-op Community. I shall be in touch Gary!

Rather a dark picture of John Whittaker next to his dazzling All the Fun of the Fair six-payer pusher, which attracted a lot of attention at the show. We will feature a retrospective of the Whittaker family in a future issue of Coin-op Community. John tells us that he has photos of Prince Charles in a dodgem!

Below – Alan Rogers with the product that was “best in show” for Astra: Globe Roulette.

Kriss Sport below have a large range of boxer machines including a redemption and an SWP version for the UK market. The guys had a great show and spoke to a number of overseas as well as UK customers, including some from as far away as Africa.

 

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