Date: 1st-3rd March, 2022 Location: ExCel London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London, E16 1XL, UK. After being cancelled in 2021 due to COVID-19, this year’s EAG International Expo was delayed for the same reason, moving from mid-January to the start of March. Now, with pandemic restrictions in the UK greatly relaxed, we’re back at the ExCel London exhibition centre in London’s Docklands for our familiar look around the UK’s premier coin-op and amusements trade show. It was a dull and rainy day outside the ExCel London exhibition centre We visited the show on the middle of its three days on what was a wet, cold Wednesday in London. London’s Docklands adjacent to the ExCel Exhibition Centre There were several other exhibitions taking place in the ExCel London complex, including a future building show and a ‘white label’ products show. That meant the central aisle, catering outlets and interior walkways were all very busy most of the time. Inside the ExCel London complex However, despite the lack of restrictions on attendees and exhibitors and the size of the crowds in the central corridor, there were markedly fewer visitors and vendors than usual at this year’s EAG International Expo show. Inside the EAG International Expo halls The show also seemed to occupy a smaller space. In 2020 it was held on the north side of the building, taking over halls N1, N2 and N3. This year it was on the south side in halls S4 and S5. The show was eerily quiet at times Clearly, a number of regular exhibitors, mostly from overseas, had opted not to attend which was a shame. Nevertheless, plenty were there and here’s a list of those exhibitors who did make it: 7’s AboveLaserforce InternationalAll Things Nice VendingLeisure ElectronicsAmusement Industry CatalogueMaggi ElectronicsAsk Global/Rimini SystemsMondo AutomaticoAstrosystems LtdNayax UK LtdBANDAI NAMCO Amusement Europe LimitedNewmans Sales LtdBlueprint Operations & GeWeTeNovomatic Gaming UK LtdCoinslotNRM Group LtdConcept Games LtdNSM MusicCosmic LeisureOKTOCrown/Harry Levy & DeithPlaysafe Systems & E-ServiceCummins Allison LtdPMS International Group PlcElectrocoinPortman Asset FinanceeLOQRedemption Software CompanyESG GamingReflex Gaming LtdEurotek DesignsRover InternationalFacto EdizioniSacoa Playcard SystemGame Payment TechnologySB MachinesGame Time InternationalSEGA Amusements Int. LtdGenesis GamesSemnox Solutions Private LtdGioco NewsSevern Leisure RidesHeddleworth AmusementsSMOVEIdeal Software SystemsSound Leisure LtdInspired EntertainmentSports SimulatorInstance AutomaticsSUZOHAPPInteractive365TubzbrandsIntergameUDCJabro GamesUK Gaming Solutions LtdJNC Sales LtdVMA Systems LtdJTS Gifts & PrizesWessex CoinKalkomat BISWhitehouse Leisure InternationalKashing LimitedYGAMExhibitors at EAG International Expo 2022 After a cancellation in 2021 and a delay this January, EAG was back And here’s how their stands were laid-out on the show floor, with the main entrance at the bottom: The floorplan for the show The number of visitors did pick up markedly during the day on Wednesday. There was a strike by workers on London’s tube network on the opening and final days of the show which closed the entire network. The disruption carried over to the middle day too. As a result, many visitors who decided to attend on the Wednesday didn’t make it to ExCel London until around lunchtime. The show hall around midday on Wednesday In previous years there had been a significant presence by several of the major pinball manufacturers. This year only Stern Pinball had any representation. That said, they did put on a good show at the stand of their UK distributor, Electrocoin. The Electrocoin stand at EAG International Expo 2022 Electrocoin’s head, John Stergides, is a big pinball fan and recently opened the Funland arcade in London which showcases the Premium models of the latest Stern Pinball machines. Electrocoin’s John Stergides However, this is largely an operator-focused show, so alongside Premium model of Rush, Stern also had the Pro model together with The Avengers: Infinity Quest Pro, The Mandalorian Pro and Godzilla Pro. EAG show guests enjoying the five Stern Pinball machines The new President of Stern Pinball, Seth Davis, was there, along with Gary Stern, Doug Skor and Waison Cheng. Pinball News caught up with Seth, Gary and Doug in their conference suite. Seth Davis, Gary Stern and Doug Skor with Stern Pinball’s current title, Rush The Stern Pinball team were heavily promoting their Insider Connected system as well as their latest cornerstone release, Rush. The five Stern Pinball machines on the Electrocoin stand Stern had set up a bespoke leader board on the five machines for registered Insider Connected players visiting EAG International Expo. The high score table for the machines at EAG Expo International There were separate top-ten high score tables for each title. The leader board for The Avengers: Infinity Quest The Insider Connected lead developer, Waison Cheng, was at the show to ensure the system worked flawlessly and answer any questions about its operation. Stern Pinball’s lead developer on their Insider Connected system, Waison Cheng On Tuesday and Wednesday, Stern President, Seth Davis, gave a talk about the benefits of the Insider Connected system, with the emphasis on how the paid subscription Pro version benefits operators. Seth Davis extols the benefits of Insider Connected Seth said the hosted tournament leader board they were using at the show would soon be rolled out to Pro users allowing operators to set up and run their own high-score tournaments. Seth talks Insider Connected Apart from Stern’s presence, there was surprisingly little pinball to be found at the show this year with no other manufacturers exhibiting either physical or digital pinballs. Usually, we would at least be able to bring you pinball-style capsule, gumball and rubber ball dispensers for kids, but even they were missing along with the companies who manufacture and distribute them. In fact, the only other pinball was a Big Buck Hunter Pro machine on the Game Payment stand. Big Buck Hunter Pro Supplied by London Pinball, the game was being used to demonstrate how the Game Payment system can be used with a variety of different coin-operated devices, both amusement and gaming. The Game Payment stand with the Big Buck Hunter Pro Given the problems the amusement sector has faced in the past two years, it wasn’t too surprising there was little in the way of new products on display. Operators have been reluctant to buy current products with shuttered venues and uncertainty over future restrictions, while supply chain problems, staff shortages and increased transport costs and delays have held back product development and manufacturing. There were plenty of traditional amusements and prize toys on show We’ve reported before how virtual reality had been the focus of much new product development. There was no space at EAG for some of the larger VR rigs seen at shows such as IAAPA, but set-ups for smaller locations were on display. A more compact VR environment There was a central coffee stand which was much easier to access than the crowded outlets in the corridor outside the show hall. The catering options were rather disappointing this year Sadly though, the show’s bar – which used to be a great hub for catching up with people you might only see once a year – removed all the local London beer taps and now only serves Heineken. The show is co-organised with the British Amusement Catering Trade Association or BACTA, who had a large section of the show floor for their members to relax and socialise. The BACTA area in the hall Normally at this point we’d show you a video walkthrough from the show, but with so little new to show you we opted instead to get some hands-on time on the Stern Pinball machines before heading back out into the cold and damp. We said at the start of this report how cold it was… It’s good to see EAG International Expo back and the coin-op and amusement trade coming together again after such a challenging time. Stern’s involvement gave many visitors their first opportunity to play some of the company’s recent releases, while their Insider Connected leader board brought some friendly competition to the event.