The European games community is waiting impatiently for the start of the world's largest trade fair and event highlight for interactive entertainment. Shortly before the start on Wednesday, Olaf Wolters, Managing Director of the Federal Association for Interactive Entertainment Software (Bundesverband Interaktive Unterhaltungs- software (BIU) e.V.), remarks: "gamescom 2011 is starting up with the strongest games offering in the history of the entertainment trade fair. Countless blockbusters from all genres are at the starting gate. Mobile games, online and browser games as well as the next generation of motion games in particular will be the subject of discussions."More than 300 games, including many world, European and German premieres, are waiting to be tried out - starting with the latest sports, singing and motion games as well as serious games, simulators and racing games through to action and adventure. Gerald Böse, Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse GmbH: "gamescom is the perfect stage for spectacular presentations. Every fan of interactive entertainment will have a great time in our trade fair halls."
Popular topics: hardware, mobile games, online
In the area of mobile games, the generation change among mobile consoles in particular will ensure new growth momentum. In addition, smartphones and tablet PCs have developed into stars of mobile gaming within a very short period of time and expanded the portfolio with innumerable new mobile games applications. In the first half of the year, over 7 million games applications have been purchased in Germany, which is 13 per cent more than during the first six months of 2010. But it is the Internet in particular that is revolutionising the games industry. In no other entertainment sector are legal gaming and distribution offers growing to a comparable degree. Online and browser games are the games of the moment. In 2011, the BIU is expecting lots of new IP games and online realisations of well-known games and films, which will give the market a further lift. This is a growth market that German companies are playing a leading role in. Existing gaming trends will also be continued, in particular stereoscopic gaming in 3D and motion gaming on the basis of the new motion controls introduced in 2010. "Following on from the emergence of countless fitness, dance and social games, we can now expect games that exploit the potential of the new input devices for core gamers even further", states Wolters.
Market figures: positive at halftime
"Business indicators are good as the sector heads into the games week", stresses Wolters, basing his statement on current market figures for the first half of 2011. "The German market for games has seen positive development in the first half of the year. In the first six months, the sale of PC and video games software as well as income from online business models totaled 793 million euros. This corresponds to an increase of 1 per cent in comparison to the same period last year. Up to the end of the year, we are expecting slight growth in turnover of up to 3 per cent in total."In the market segment of PC and console games, turnover of 639 million euros was generated in the first half of the year, which corresponds to a slight decrease of 2 per cent. The PC games market in particular was able to take up its growth of 2010: turnover from PC games climbed by 2 per cent during the first half of 2011 to a total of 201 million euros. Digital sales made a significant contribution. Download figures in the first half of 2011 were up by around 45 per cent. The greatest increases in the games industry are at present in the area of online and browser games, which saw double-digit growth curves in 2010. According to a current projection by the BIU, sales in this segment rose by 15 per cent to 154 million euros during the first half of the year. Wolters: "A digital change is currently taking place in the computer and video games industry. While the sale of games data carriers still represents the most important pillar of the games industry in Germany, digital business models such as downloads, games apps, online subscriptions and the sale of virtual goods as part of online and browser games are, however, seeing a rapid rise and now make up some 26 per cent of overall turnover. We expect these online business models to become even more significant in the coming years and to complement the classic distribution model."The tone for this change will be set by consumers and an alteration in gaming habits in particular." In the coming years, consumers will play a decisive role in determining the direction of the games industry by using every digital environment for gaming. They will specify the channels that they wish to play on to producers and publishers - not the other way around. The challenge for the games industry as a creative sector is to develop ideas that offer first-class entertainment and fill people with enthusiasm across all platforms and channels", Wolters concludes.
gamescom 2011 in figures
550 exhibitors, an increase of 10 per cent, will present world, European and German premieres, including both hardware and software, from Wednesday in Koelnmesse's halls in an area covering more than 120,000 square meters. This year, 16 per cent more exhibitors in Cologne are from abroad. For the first time, they will include companies from Brazil, the British Virgin Islands, Estonia, Norway, Mexico and Vietnam. Exhibitors from Canada, China, France, Iran, Korea, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Taiwan and, for the first time, Mexico will also present themselves in the business area under their national flag on joint stands. More than 4,700 journalists from 49 countries will be present. Over 254,000 visitors are expected.