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News of G2E’s cancellation, announced on 8 July, was not a total surprise. There was guesswork to be done about whether the US gaming calendar’s biggest show would take place; but we can speculate that this week’s news of reclosures and employees testing positive for COVID-19 across US casinos may have proven the final straw.
The ramifications for the calendar are yet to be fully seen yet it is most certainly another blow during the most testing of years for the industry.
There is one implication, however, that cannot be avoided. If G2E will not take place in its physical format, other shows will most certainly have to think twice before going ahead with their own showpiece events.
And that simply places further emphasis on our virtual calendar. G2E itself may still hold a strong digital presence, while other virtual conferences and webinars will certainly not show any signs of going away, following news that an event as far ahead as October will not be going ahead.
But does this mean the industry should jump at this chance and produce a stream of daily conferences and email blast everyone in the sector to remind them of it hourly? Quite the opposite. By now, after months of lockdown, of varying degrees depending on where you are, virtual show fatigue may well have set in.
All the same topics have been covered and all the same speakers have spoken. What the gaming industry must do now is double down efforts to produce quality content without saturating the calendar.
Losing G2E is another bitter blow for a 2020 that is unlikely to go down in anyone’s book as their favourite year in history. Yet the opportunity remains to both produce and consume high-quality content; quality, not quantity, will be the key to keeping viewers informed – and delegates happy.