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ECTS '99: The shape of games to come

September 6, 1999
Web posted at: 10:12 a.m. EDT (1412 GMT)

by Douglas F. Gray


(IDG) -- Sunday marked the start of the annual European Computer Trade Show (ECTS) at London's Olympia exhibition hall, billed by the organizers as Europe's largest electronic game industry event.

Last year, the show was host to 250 exhibitors and 21,000 people, said Mark Ward, a spokesman for event coordinator Miller Freeman. Consumers, however, are not welcome at the trade gathering. Not your ordinary game convention filled with teenagers, there are even "noise police" at this year's event.

Media will be well represented at the show. "Last year, we had 1,400 journalists, this year 2,000 journalists have pre-registered online," Ward said.

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The PC industry's growing infatuation with games has lead to companies such as Microsoft and Be Inc. also attending the event in full force.

Microsoft, for example, will host its own partner pavilion. "We're focusing on Eastern Europe this year," said company spokesman Mike Gamble.

Four gaming companies from Moscow and a Polish company will be showing a total of 16 titles, many of which will be seen for the first time out of their native countries, according to Gamble.

Be, meanwhile, will be demonstrating games, audio appliances and video applications for its BeOS operating system, which is designed for digital media applications. The OS will also be demonstrated on the Internet Personal Access Device (IPAD), and Microwerk's new line of information access devices, the company said in a statement.

Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) Europe will be focusing on copy protection at the show. "We have created protection against copying CD-ROMs," according to Reinhard Frohlich, director of sales and customer service. "We like to think of it as similar to (C-Dilla's) Safedisk, but better," he added.

Sega Europe, on the other hand, will not have an exhibition booth at this year's show, but will have representatives on the floor, according to a spokeswoman. Sega Europe has been in the news recently, first for lowering the price of its next-generation Dreamcast system, then for delaying shipment of the console in the U.K. by over a month until October 14.

Some of the other companies attending the show this year are Disney, Mattel, Hasbro, Nintendo, Eidos Interactive and Acclaim Entertainment.

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(PC World Online)
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