„ICE has become a real international event. This year more so than in the past“

Peter Rusbridge, CEO of Clarion Gaming, organizers of ICE event, to be held next January 22-24, talked to Yogonet.com about the expectations they have about the show, the companies and products to be showcased, and the latest trends and technologies.

What expectations do you have for the upcoming show?

We’re expecting a bigger and better show than in previous years definitely. Our first time exhibitor numbers are up on last year already, and over half the returning exhibitors have increased their floor space at the show, both of which have raised expectations in terms of what’s going to be on display at ICE and for our visitors. This is an exciting time for the industry, there’s huge growth and big changes throughout the whole sector, and we think the show will reflect this. All our conversations with exhibitors and potential visitors to-date have been very positive about industry conditions so we have high hopes. It’s going to be a big event, so we all have some very lofty expectations for ICE.

What are the approximate figures for the number of countries and companies that will be present at ICE 2008?

At the last count we had almost 270 confirmed exhibitors at ICE, which includes 80 first timers and 187 returnees. As to where they’re coming from; over 40 countries will be represented, with 21 from the USA and 13 from Slovenia. Taiwan will have nine companies present while Italy, Malta, Germany and Italy all have eight each. The Asian countries are well represented, as are Europe and America. It’s a really good mix from all over the world and we’re looking forward to the international flavour of the event.

What’s the main news coming from the organisation?

Where do I begin? I think the biggest story is the worldwide interest in ICE. Again I’ll have to point out that the show has become a real international event, this year more so than in the past, and we’re seeing a lot of interest from the international market in terms of exhibitor and exhibitor presence. As a result we have more international government regulators present than ever before, and a bigger media plan which will lead to an increase in global exposure. The interest has been overwhelming to be honest, and it’s quite a handful having to deal with all the different jurisdictions and languages, but we’re coping admirably.

Our other big news is the networking areas, which have been enlarged both on and off show floor for 2008, to assist with the huge networking element of the exhibition. To go alongside this increased focus on networking, we have launched an exclusive social event for ICE 2008, which is being held at the Adam Street Private Members club in central London.

What new trends and technologies will be showcased at the event?

That’s a tough one. The next generation of server based gaming is sure to be a major part of the show, but realistically, every part of the sector will be represented with a raft of new products. I think the only way to really find out what the year’s upcoming trends and technologies are going to be is to be there.

Do you think that the show will be a launching platform for many new products?

Of course, that’s what it’s all about! We really have positioned ourselves as the place to see new products in the industry, as well as highlighting the existing products, so I would say a resounding yes to this question.

How many companies will debut in ICE?

As I mentioned earlier there are 80 debutantes at the exhibition, and we’re expecting to add to that before the doors open. We’re seeing a real mixed bag of companies booking too, from as far afield as Ukraine, Austria, Latvia, Taiwan and Spain, so its not just one region or area bringing their products, they’re coming from all over the world. I think it’s a real testament to our show team who have been promoting ICE 2008 across the world this past year, and to the companies like Odrex and Astro Corp who are prepared to travel the distance to make it a real eclectic occasion.

Will Eastern Europe and Latin America increase their presence in the upcoming edition?

As with all the regions and continents, we’ve seen a marked increase from both Eastern Europe and Latin America. It’s very exciting to see these maturing regions developing their presence at ICE, and I think as their industries grow further and the opportunities increase, we’ll see an even larger presence at ICE in the future. It’s great to see the influx of new exhibitors from these areas to Earls Court, it means that we’re giving our visitors the opportunity to speak first hand with some of the key players in the markets.