The sad demise of ECTS is almost complete. On exiting Earls Court tube station and facing the exhibition centre, one would be forgiven for thinking nothing was happening at all. Sadly, something was happening and it was the final moments of what was once Europe's premiere trade event.
The rumours were true; ECTS is a shadow of its former self. One stand attendant reported that 20 people walked by throughout the entire of day two and only four of them stopped to talk. I pity the poor people who had to guard the stands as they didn't even have games to play. There was a distinct air of boredom and dejection.
I didn't recognise half the names there and they certainly weren't publishers of any description. Microsoft was present with its usual appointment only stand (luckily I had an appointment). Check for my report, coming soon.
The severe lack of games at the show was astonishing, but it had more games than EGN managed to squeeze between the suits. Nintendo had for some reason decided to show its support this year of all years. Usually conspicuous in its absence, it was too little too late. Although, Nintendo did have the best show of games, including Pikmin 2 and Donkey Konga. Apart from that it was basically a display of useless peripherals.
There was a football mat – yes that's right a peripheral based on the dance mat, but designed to be used for football games. It was being capably demonstrated using Fifa but all I could think is why…I mean, why!? Staying on the dance mat theme there was one with a sensor designed for fighting games and involved a girl kicking and punching thin air. Now this I can see an application for, but simulating football on a mat…no. Fundamentally, football involves running and you can't simulate that, you just do it.
There weren't even any interesting independents taking advantage of the big boys being absent. Everyone was absent and it felt like the end of an era. I know I say it every year, but I hope it's better next year – that's if there is a next year.