The GAMA Trade Show, the gathering of the RPG, CCG, miniature game, and board game industries, recently wrapped up in Las Vegas, with a record number of exhibitors (see 'GAMA 2002 Sets Exhibitor Record') and stable attendance vs. 2001. GAMA Executive Director Mark Matthew-Simmons called the mood at the show 'upbeat,' and that was confirmed by our discussions with some of the over 1400 exhibitors, retailers, and other members of the trade that attended the show at the Orleans Hotel.
Of the 1400+ attendees, over 900 were retailers, representing over 300 retail organizations. According to Matthew-Simmons, the number of retail organizations was up slightly, indicating that on average, fewer people from each organization attended. To us, the GAMA attendance pattern, increasing both the number of exhibiting and retail companies, indicates underlying growth in the show, despite the flat number of attendees. By comparison, Toy Fair was down both in attendance over-all and in the number of retail organizations represented, despite a fairly successful business climate for toys. The good year for the GTS continues a multi-year positive trend (see 'GAMA Trade Show Opens Big') that began when Matthew-Simmons began running the show four years ago.
Category by category, the news was positive. RPGs are coming out of the d20 glut with some strong new releases from a variety of systems. Yu Gi Oh looks like a major CCG hit, with LOTR, DBZ, and Magic continuing their solid sales. The new Battletech and Marvel figures for WizKids' CMGs looked great and are expected to sell well.
The GAMA Trade Show will have more room to grow in both of the next two years. Next year the Orleans will have more hotel rooms available beyond the 550 the show booked this year. The room price will continue to be a bargain at $79 per night. And in 2004, the exhibit space will be expanded, allowing the show to accommodate the exhibitors that were on a waiting list this year.
Today and in the coming days, we'll be reporting all of the major announcements that came out of the show -- stay tuned.