Kevin Williams – EAG 2024


EAG 2024

London’s Premier Amusement Event Showcases Latest Games

by Kevin Williams, International Immersive Technology Special Correspondent

The London-based Entertainment, Amusement and Gaming Expo (EAG) holds a special place in the amusement trade calendar, being one of the first events of the year and a chance for many in the scene to evaluate the new trends that will shape the season. As you’d expect, full order books being a mark of the success of the United Kingdom gathering.

This year marked a special point for the U.K. trade as the show, supported by the venerable Bacta trade association supporting amusement and retail gaming manufacturers, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The importance and reach of the trade event were illustrated by the high-profile attendance of Labour Party politician Lord McNicol of West Kilbride who officially opened the show. The trade association has been working closely with government and opposition, towards charting future legislation for the industry in the U.K.

EAG 2024

Frank Ballouz, Intergame’s David Snook and Gary Stern meet up on the show floor.

The show gathered over-60 exhibitors in the ExCel Convention venue in London’s Dockland – and had seen registered attendance of over 4,000 industry professionals. These numbers are up on the previous year and show a steady 36% increase in industry representation. The show’s importance could not be underestimated as a vital barometer of trends and fashions shaping business across the international scene.

Big, Deluxe Racing

Video amusement still draws crowds and was reflected in the proliferation of deluxe racing systems from the leading manufacturers. EAG ’24 had a crowded starting grid of titles. Sega Amusement International (SAI), a Kaizen Entertainment company, showed Apex Rebels, a big box offering with motion cockpit and multiple displays with frantic race action developed in partnership with 3MindWave. They also promoted their new Hyper Cross, in deluxe cabinet, which puts players in snowmobile competition.

EAG 2024

Drivers like Raw Thrills’ Fast & Furious Arcade were popular at this year’s EAG.

Over at the Bandai Namco Amusement Europe (BNAE) booth where the office represents other makers’ products as well as their own, Raw Thrills’ Fast & Furious: Arcade was on display. The game was show in the DX variant, but also for smaller pockets and spaces in a standard driving cabinet. BNAE also showed Adrenaline Amusement’s deluxe NFS: Takedown, a title that was also represented in a standard cabinet configuration. BNAE had their home-grown Dead Heat: Unleashed, a street racer based on their popular series.

At the United Dis­tributing Co. (UDC) booth where they were celebrating their 40th anniversary of exhibiting at the show), they represented the Ace Amusement line of videos and redemption. In the racing category, there was the motorbike racer Parkour Motor 2, which offers action for all ages, and the Wave Riders: X-Treme jet ski game. The importance of a strong, dedicated deluxe attraction for the U.K. operators was not lost on the current crop of new videos, but also pointed to the resurgence of video amusement in the market to build revenue.

The big DX amusement racer was also seen at Instance Automatic’s booth. They represent UNIS Technology, showing that company’s frantic motion platform racer Bigfoot Mayhem. At distributor conglomeration Harry Levy’s crowded booth (where Crown Direct and Deith Sales operations are also repped) was their own big-box racer called Super Speed, a motion-platform, three-screen race sim. This deluxe simulator offers a realistic center-piece experience.

Along with the drivers, other forms of video games were shown including a wide selection of video gun games from JET and Benchmark. The London show revealed the popularity of video redemption and other redemption, crane and prize platforms. TouchMagix’s products were on display at the BNAE booth; ICE at SAI. Photo booths exhibited included those from Apple Industries at BNAE and Digital Centre at Electrocoin.

Unattended VR

The virtual reality trend continued at EAG ’24 with a selection of the latest unattended amusement VR platforms. Building off their own previous successful DX racer, LAI Games now represented by SAI in the territory, presented Asphalt Legends 9 VR. This VR interpretation of their extreme street racer, this version places the driver in the driver’s seat and offering the immersive perspective on the action. The game comes with a motion-platform, VR headset and wind FX package.

The show floor was populated with other examples of the unattended amusement VR platforms. BNAE presented Raw Thrills’ King of Skull Island II VR, the latest game in this game. They also offered U.K. operators their first glimpse of Godzilla Kaiju Wars VR, a mounted shooter-style, two-player motion platform VR experience. In game action, the movie monster rampage through Tokyo is thwarted by the players’ shooting skills. Also seen was the previously released MotoGP VR, adding this immersive motorbike racer to the VR list.

Harry Levy booth’s had VR for their operators with the Shark VR pods in which players select from a library of experiences and adventures. While the trade was focused on arcade-style VR at EAG ’24, Immersive Arenas was there promoting their turnkey, multiplayer VR arena for operators of all stripes looking to add such an experience to their operations.

Pinball’s Influence

Not all the trends on the show floor were tech-heavy. EAG saw an resurgence in pinball with operators showing a new hunger for this evergreen. This was reflected at several booths. Veteran distributor Electrocoin continued their close partnership with Stern Pinball, giving the U.K. trade their first chance to see JAWS, along with other recent releases.

At the BNAE booth was the Play Mechanix/Chicago Gaming Co. Pulp Fiction pinball. The game’s exhibition was a surprise appearance at the show, underlining the hunger for new tables this market represents. Other exhibitors also had a pinball focus, such as Retro Arcade Specialist U.K. with their Jim Henson Labyrinth table. They’re the sole distributor for such unique pin table products. And there was Pinball Heaven with their own range of titles and services along with their hope and plans to support the diverse mix of operations that have come to depend on the popularity of pintables.

Social Impact

One of those businesses that have come to depend on pinball in their mix is the Social Entertainment scene, a companion of the amusement evolution towards a more hospitality mix. EAG reflected the growth in interest of what some call Competitive Socializing. Show exhibitor Game Volt had their Supercharged Shuffle, a gamified shuffleboard table. The system was deployed recently for Dave & Busters’ as part of that company’s focus on social gaming. Game Volt is also working on other new game platforms for this space.

Also EAG was Team Games, one of several exhibitors with tournament-equipped darts machines. These kinds of systems find a home both in the hospitality scene, but also as game experiences suited for social entertainment venues and the new generation of “eater-tainment” venues that are gaining traction in the U.K., EU and international market.

Overall, the EAG’24 offered a positive snapshot of the industry. The sales books seemed well filled, and the prospects for the year seemed very strong. Looking toward the future, there were moves afoot to see the EAG expand to include new co-located events. More details will be revealed about these positive moves to secure the show’s future as it celebrates its 50 years of operation, establishing a strong future perspective while celebrating its eventful past.


Kevin Williams is a specialist on entertainment and technology. He is a frequent presenter at international conferences and a regular speaker at the Amusement360 bootcamp for LBE and FEC investors. He is also one of the senior judges of the VR Awards.

Kevin’s consultancy, KWP Ltd., helps international clients develop immersive and interactive entertainment. He now combines his services as co-owner and technology director of Spider Entertain­ment (a global leader in out-of-home entertainment for retail destinations and beyond), and holds advisory positions with other entrants into the market.

Kevin is publisher of the Stinger Report for those working or investing in the amusement, attractions, and entertainment industry. He is also the co-author of the only book on this aspect of the market (the next edition is scheduled for publication in 2023.

Kevin can be reached at [email protected].




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