EAG 2020 – review
UK-based trade show for the amusement park and visitor attractions industry EAG International welcomed in the new decade with a comprehensive and commercial event.
Exhibitors and attendees alike reported high levels of optimism and positivity on the show floor. According to organisers, many of those present commented on the show’s fresh new feel, which has been attributed to new exhibitors and an impressive product showing.
Organiser Karen Cooke commented: “The level of energy at this year’s EAG International was almost palpable, with many exhibitors and visitors going out of their way to confirm to us that they had an enjoyable and productive show.
“With a balance of new technology and the latest releases of traditional favourites, I think it’s fair to say that the show can guarantee innovative products and business tools for every out-of-home leisure and entertainment business,” revealed Karen.
Notable at this year’s EAG International was the high volume of new products present on the show floor. Among the visitors were buyers from every aspect of out-of-home entertainment, from theme parks and zoos to FECs and cinemas.
EAG International Chairman Martin Burlin believes the appetite to invest was widespread, commenting: “EAG 2020 had a great feel about it. The number of exhibitors, with whom I spoke, confirmed that they were very pleased with the quality of the visitors, who were placing orders. I also received a number of positive comments on the new branding.”
The market for Redemption games and systems has continued to see growth worldwide, fuelled by high quality plush and prize merchandise, fan-favourite licensed entertainment brands and technology must-haves. The Redemption boom was amply demonstrated at EAG with a wide array of imaginative new games, plus new takes on traditional carnival favourites.
UK-based manufacturer Instance Automatics had a particularly successful show, with sales executive James Sweeney stating himself very pleased with the footfall. “This is our largest show for new machine launches, with 13 debuting at EAG this year. We’ve had great feedback from buyers and seen more European visitors at this year’s show,” revealed James.
Whitehouse Leisure International once again had a significant presence at the show. Managing director Phil Setter confirmed a busy three days on each of their three stands: “EAG International has always been a good show for us and this year was ahead of last year. We were kept extremely busy with quality customers for the entire duration. As expected, Trolls World Tour was very well received, and we’ve enjoyed a particularly great response to the Harry Potter range and to Marvel character gloves.
“With Redemption continuing to grow, we’ve invested heavily in our own retail quality products and this year was the busiest ever for our Redemption stand,” observed Phil.
Multinational developer Sega, meanwhile, found its ‘Mission: Impossible Arcade’ was the most popular game at the show. “It was constantly played throughout the show – a testament to the power of this multibillion-dollar blockbuster film franchise. The awe-inspiring safe house-themed cabinet with action-packed gameplay and immersive sound left players with a big smile on their face. Mission: Impossible Arcade is the must-have video attraction for this year,” said Lester Travasso, sales & marketing executive at Sega.
“EAG always kicks off the year on a positive start for us,” added Justin Burke, general manager at Sega. “We have a huge portfolio of products, so this year we focused on the latest and strongest products – and that strategy worked out great for us. We want to thank all visitors and the show organisers for helping make EAG an all-round success for us.”
Electrocoin had a very positive response from visitors to the stand this year, John Anthony told Park World; displaying redemption titles, new style prize machines, gaming machines, pinball machines, dance games and venue management systems.
“Products like the Skill Cut Winner (available in eight colours), Drop a Winner have been proven to do very well on location over the last year and were very popular with visitors,” John said. “Also on display and attracting attention were pinballs by Stern and new products like the Four Player Ball Paradise, along with the Tiki Tumble, which was specially flown over for the show.”
Stand-alone immersive entertainment experiences were also a substantial feature at EAG 2020, adding a touch of drama to the show floor.
Immersive and mixed reality developer Holovis, for example, unveiled a new range of multisensory, immersive and interactive products designed for family entertainment environments at EAG – two of which, The Descent and AR Laser Tag, featured on the Holovis booth. The former saw visitor fully immersed in a multisensory, adrenaline fuelled VR adventure, as they lowered themselves through a creature infested cave system and battle for survival. AR Laser Tag, meanwhile, combines the thrill of the traditional game but takes it into a new dimension with immersion into the virtual world.
Communications manager Emily Burrows commented: “A fantastic show! We’re surprised how international EAG is. We’ve seen a lot of operators who are ready to take the leap into immersive and interactive entertainment in order to stay at the top.”
Access control and cashless
Cashless payments solutions were also very much in evidence, with more than a dozen exhibitors demonstrating the latest integrated products. With these systems reducing operating cost and generating big data to support marketing decisions, they were the subject of topical debate on stands and during seminar sessions.
There was notable interest in secure cashless payments app Yalp, developed by Game Payment Technology, an initiative between bacta and Polar Moments. On a packed stand, financial compliance director for Game Payment Technology John Rozek commented: “EAG International is a very busy and diverse show and it’s also great fun.
“We’ve chosen the 2020 show for the official launch of the YALP secure cashless payments app. The appetite for YALP has been immense, driven by the decline in use of cash. The product is comprehensive and robust and addresses many challenges that the pub and amusements markets are facing; it has brought about a new confidence,” he confirmed.
On the Kwikpay stand, meanwhile, company CEO and founder Neeraj Bhatia revealed: “It has been a really good show. Last year was our first time and we’ve had a lot of general discussions. This year operators have returned for more in-depth conversations and we’re receiving commitments.”
Leading provider of automatic coin and bank note processing systems Suzohapp showcased its new drop-in replacement E-PRL electronic reprogrammable lock at the show. The product enables remote authorisation and traceability. Sim Bielak, Suzohapp’s president of Global Gaming & Amusement, told Park World, “EAG 2020 provided a great opportunity to introduce our new UK director of sales, Tim Kennedy, to our customers. With over 30 years of industry experience he will make a great addition to our team.”
EAG International, conveniently positioned at the beginning of the year, is regarded by many as an indicator of industry confidence for the year to come. With one busy and buzzing attractions event already under our belts for 2020, business is looking good for the decade ahead.
EAG International 2021 will take place at ExCeL London from 12-14 January, 2021.