INTERVIEW: Oliver Kuhrt

Ben Parfitt
INTERVIEW: Oliver Kuhrt

What has been the reaction to last year’s Gamescom?

With Gamescom 2010 we certainly reached a new level for a games and entertainment trade fair. This is confirmed by the overwhelming feedback on the part of exhibitors, trade visitors, retailers and consumers.

505 exhibitors from 33 countries showed innumerable new products, with numerous Europe and world premieres among them. All in all, more than 254,000 people visited Gamescom, including about 19,000 trade visitors from all over the world and 4,400 media representatives from 49 countries.

This year’s we’re hoping to welcome 32 exhibitors and nearly 2,000 visitors from Great Britain.

What do you hope to accomplish with Gamescom 2011?

Our goal is further internationalisation as well as further development of Gamescom to make it the largest event and entertainment highlight. The registrations we have received so far confirm that we’re well on the way to achieving this.

The Gamescom Awards are now going to be held during the opening ceremony. Why change it?

We’d like to hand over the awards in front of the international trade visitors that are present for the opening. All CEOs and decision-makers of the international industry will be our guests to see who will receive the treasured awards. For the gaming fans, the early awarding means they know which are the best products that can be played during the consumers’ days.

You’ve announced you expect mobile games to be a hot topic at this year’s event. Why do you think that?

Mobile gaming is currently experiencing a dynamic development. Sony’s NGP, the Nintendo 3DS, the Apple product family and other smart phones are attractive channels as independent platforms or extension of the classic games formats. We’ll see if and how exactly the companies will showcase these at Gamescom, but it is certain that mobile gaming is an exciting topic.

What else can we expect between now and August?

At the moment, many concepts and ideas are not finalised yet, but we can say this: the demand for exhibition space and the participation at Gamescom is still considerably high. In addition to the changes made to the Awards, the media literacy area will be enlarged.

In the framework of the Gamescom campus, suppliers from the learning software and edutainment field will be addressed and integrated into the supporting programme.

Moreover, we decided together with the industry to change the opening times of the business area.

What can we expect away from the show floor?

The Gamescom festival is a unique concept as we are targeting potential gamers and casual gamers. Thus, we are bringing this group that would not necessarily visit a games trade fair more into contact with interactive entertainment and motivate them to visit Gamescom. About 100,000 additional festival visitors came to last year’s trade fair, showing that this concept works.

This year there will be games, music and entertainment in the city after the trade fair closes and visitors will have the chance to get to try out games and platforms.

What pressures do you face as the only major European video games trade show?

The challenge is to represent as effectively as possible the dynamic market for all parties involved – the entire value added chain – every year. We continuously analyse the market regarding relevant trends and innovations, and customise the business and entertainment platform to suit the needs of this industry.

We are in intense exchange with our partner BIU (German games trade body), as well as the industry, the city Cologne and the federal state North Rhine-Westphalia. A brilliant co-operation between all players involved actually makes the success of Gamescom possible.

Gamescom is held between E3 and Tokyo Games Show. What challenges does this present and how do you overcome them?

All three events are the decisive trade fair platforms for their respective market each with a different conception. Gamescom – as Europe’s platform – is the only event addressing all target groups of the industry.

And we hold Gamescom at the ideal time to inform the trade – and of course the gamers – on the upcoming innovations before Christmas.

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