German Chancellor, Dr. Angela Merkel, is to open the Gamescom 2017 show at Cologne in August.
This is the first time a high-level politician has opened the European trade and fan event, showing a value and commitment from the German government towards the games industry. Gamescom is the largest gaming event in the world and has opened its doors to fans and trade alike, with business being the biggest draw. Over 350,000 people attended last years event.
We consider it a great honour and a sign of recognition that Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel will this year participate in the opening tour of Gamescom", said managing director of the German Trade Association of Interactive Entertainment Software (BIU), Felix Falk, who sponsor the conference. "The visit of Dr. Merkel underlines the importance of the games industry for the cultural, digital and business location of Germany. Whether virtual reality, gamification or 3D simulations: the technologies of the games industry already play a central role in the digitalisation and networking of the economy and society. Germany needs a strong games industry in order to also secure itself a top position in the digitalised economy."
Gerald Böse, president and CEO of Gamescom organiser, Koelnmesse GmbH, said, "The participation of the Chancellor is a sign of great appreciation for us. With her visit she honours the development of Gamescom into one of the most successful and largest events in the German trade fair system. Gamescom is today the world's largest event for computer and video games."
For an indication of the level of importance this signifies, this would be akin to UK PM Teresa May, or at least the Chancellor Phillip Hammond, opening EGX or the London Games Festival. It's a very big message from the EU member state that digital industries and games specifically are very important in the future economy of the country.