OPINION: Gamescom is close to its E3 moment

Ben Parfitt
OPINION: Gamescom is close to its E3 moment

Well, close enough. At the show, some said to me that Gamescom lacked the ‘media bang’ you’d get at an E3 or TGS.

There was no big message from Microsoft at the show, and Nintendo’s one announcement – a new Wii SKU for Europe – was tacked on the end of a press release.

But give the show some credit. Sony’s now traditional agenda-setting opening press conference may be one-of-a-kind but its rivals were nevertheless present. The versatility of their line-ups was testament to that.After all, this was only year three for Gamescom. And it’s already the biggest games show on Earth.

TALKING TO OUR AUDIENCE

My flight home from Cologne last week was packed, as the yearly journeys from GDC or E3 often are, with fellow Gamescom pilgrims.

But unlike the American shows, some of my fellow passengers on Germanwings flight number 0356 didn’t work in games.

They were gamers. Two of them were average British blokes who decided to book a day’s round-trip to attend. I sat next to them on the flight. (FYI: They say the Battlefield vs CoD battle is ‘pathetic’ and spent their time in Hall 9 – the one full of MMOs and free games that will destroy your business).

That totally sums up what Gamescom is all about. Having only been to a handful of E3s, I’ll never be able to say I am a true veteran attendee of the LA show. But I’ve been to all three of the relatively embryonic Gamescoms. So I know the trade’s German expo pretty well. And it’s all about the gamers, not the games firms.

This year it was clear that for many of the businesses, showing demos to even the sweatiest, most passionate fan in a deafening expo hall was just as important as a cool handshake and business card exchange in the placid trade area.

RETAILERS MISSING OUT

One of the most profitable Gamescom stands was left bemused by UK retailers, however.

German distributor Gaya specialises in merchandise for some of the most popular games. A busy shop at the show sold Mass Effect T-shirts, Angry Birds plush toys and Minecraft foam pickaxes. But the owner of the company said you won’t find these in the UK – distributors and retailers say they are ‘unsuitable’ for Brits.

That’s insane.

In some instances the products represent the only way retailers can be a part of games that make money entirely through digital. You’ll be begging for products like this in future. So why stall on selling them now?

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Tags: Gamescom 2011 , e3 , moment

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