With a glimmer of light at the end of the lockdown tunnel, organisers of UK Games Expo are beyond busy working behind the scenes in a bid to deliver a safe and secure show in 2021. Here’s what we know.

Like thousands of other gaming fans, we were distraught that UK Games Expo was canceled in 2020. Of course, it was completely the right decision and no one could argue otherwise, however it still sucked! With the UK set to come out of lockdown in June, organisers announced earlier this year that the 2021 event would be pushed back to 30 July – 1 August. The team is waiting for feedback from the Events Research Programme on how exactly a large-scale event can be run in this new world we’re living in, with the report due back in June. One thing we do know however, is this year’s event is going to be different.

So, what’s the deal?

First up, the Hilton Hotel will be closed for refurbishment, meaning this will impact open gaming and the usual RPG programme. The team is looking for another space, however the schedule will be limited this year. This refurbishment also means that the hotel will be closed for bookings as well

The NEC is also only allowing the use of Halls 2 and 3, which will impact on Tournaments and Bring and Buy. Realistically, this year’s show is going to be a stepping stone to what the Expo used to be (and more). Halls 1, 2 and 3 have been booked for 2022 though, so you can bet it will be back on form next year.

There are a few other small changes happening too:

  • No Bring & Buy: Due to space constraints there will be no Bring & Buy this year but it will return for 2022.
  • Trade Hall: There will of course be many exhibitors running demos, selling and showing off games and accessories.
  • Open Gaming: There will be open gaming tables at the show although organisers may have to introduce extra space and cleaning between groups using them.
  • Events: There will be a limited number of events this year. Further updates regarding tournaments, seminars, roleplaying and live shows will be issued later in the spring.
  • Vikings: These guys are open-air and along with other cosplayers are confirmed for 2021.

With the vaccine currently being rolled out, there’s still uncertainty in the air of how set in stone the dates are around lifting restrictions, however, the team is doing everything it can and I personally would like to say a massive thank you!

For many of us gaming geeks, UK Games Expo is the highlight of our year (and that’s the truth). It’s so much more than just somewhere to buy a few games. It’s a place to gather with friends, meet new people and see things that you just wouldn’t find on your local high street. It’s a gateway to a much larger world, which for many people, you wouldn’t even know existed unless someone showed you.

Yes, the Expo will be different this year, but we can’t wait to visit. Keep your emails peeled for more details as and when they are released. In the meantime, check out www.ukgamesexpo.co.uk for further show updates and other interesting gaming news.

About The Author

Editor at large of Polaroids and Polar Bears, PR bod and not-so-secret geek. Chris established Polaroids and Polar Bears in 2013.