Gamescom will emerge as the leading European trade and consumer games event next year, as top industry executives back the Cologne show – leaving the future of Leipzig Games Convention hanging in the balance.
Despite the success of GC 2008 – which drew upwards of 200,000 visitors – Gamescom's favourable transport links and greater capacity will make Europe home to the biggest games event in the world, according to key players in the trade.
Klemens Kundratitz, Koch Media managing director and one of 12 key power brokers that make up German publisher association the Federal Association of Interactive Entertainment Software (BIU), told MCV that ambitions are sky-high for the Cologne expo.
There will not be another show of any relevance in Germany,” he told MCV. [Leipzig] might try something, but the top 12 publishers are in the BIU and we are committed to take the show to the next level in Cologne.”
The facts are that we have had a great time for seven years at Leipzig Games Convention, but it is now at the stage where it requires a new environment.”
So could Gamescom become the world's leading trade and consumer show? Kundratitz believes so: I think we really have an opportunity to do that,” he added. We can kick down the barriers – obviously the Germans will be the majority at the show, but we want the mass media as well. We want to be like the film business and show that we are recognised as a cultural movement.”
SCEE president David Reeves also went on record to back the new show. Leipzig Games Convention has its limitations logistically in terms of getting there and the number of hotels available for visitors,” he told MCV.
I believe the attendance number was set at around 200,000 people this year. Cologne will double that. It will be around 400,000.”
The message from the highest level at Midway was much the same. International executive VP Martin Spiess added: We will go to Cologne – we will not go to any other show.”
Yet Leipziger Messe CEO Wolfgang Marzin insisted that the Cologne show's claims that GC had no trade backing are nonsense.
We know the truth,” he told MCV. We've already proved that GC works, and we have trade backing – nobody wants a show in September. Another copy of GC in Germany is ridiculous; what is the benefit of holding another show? I am confident that the big show will be GC next year.”