OPINION: We’ve come a long way from those dark days in Leipzig

A few years ago most people in the industry approached the oncoming German games trade show with dread and despair.

The horrors of Leipzig were many. No one liked staying there. It confusingly had two airports, but no direct flights.

I remember one very prominent games studio telling me the atmosphere was so soul-crushing its US parent swore off of showing games at trade expos for good.

Yet these days the excitement around Gamescom is a whole other world. Sure, it took a change of venue… and a change of city… and a totally different organiser to pull it off. But you know what I mean.

This is no longer an attempt to create a ‘local’ E3. Gamescom is its own thing, having comfortably settled into the beats of PR and buying plans across the business.

Gamescom has a more diverse range of content than its American cousin, and reflects a healthier games world.

The press might want to keep their hopes in check a bit, but we’re all expecting good things from the format-holders.”

There’s going to be plenty to do. My schedule for next week is rammed. And I’ll be honest, at times during E3 it really wasn’t – I actually had time to look at games in LA, whereas in Cologne that’s going to be a rare luxury.
This chunky Gamescom issue of MCV – our biggest yet this year – is another testament to the show’s stature.

A better sign of that is the level of expectation around the announcements and overall activity, whether you’re lucky enough to go or watch the live reports at home.

The press might want to keep their hopes in check a bit, but we’re all expecting good things from the format-holders, for a start. Sony is expected to do what it’s been doing all year. Xbox should come good after months of painful punditry about what it is or isn’t doing right. And Nintendo will actually come along and show some games for once.

I don’t know if we’ll get the final answer on where the wind will blow strongest during Q4, but we’ve certainly come a long way since those dark days back in Leipzig.

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