Comment: Don’t let gamescom die – columns, hot topic

PlayStation, Nintendo, Activision Blizzard, Take Two (Rockstar Games, 2K), Wargaming… what sounds like a tight to-do list for the upcoming gamescom reflects much more the publishers and industry giants who are not at the Cologne exhibition center this year will be represented. There are no reasons for the cancellations. Maybe it’s missing content, internally still valid Corona regulations or participation is no longer considered necessary. One can only speculate about that. An official statement from Xbox (Bethesda) and Electronic Arts are also still pending. After all, meanwhile Ubisoft has promised to come as the first major exhibitor. What the performance will look like is not yet known. According to the company, they are still working on a concept that “does justice to the local framework conditions and safety precautions in terms of content and organization”.

What does that mean for the future? Do we still need this type of measurement at all? The E3 did not take place at all this year, but is scheduled to start as a hybrid event, similar to gamescom next year. I can’t really judge the business perspective of such trade fairs, but I can imagine that people have learned to appreciate the advantages of dealing with this via Zoom & Co, just like in normal working life. There are no expensive trips and hotel accommodations, which may not even be offset against a successful deal. In a zoom meeting, only time is lost at most.

But what about the gamers? The customers who want to make your games and products palatable. Are the countless streams really a substitute for a visitor fair like gamescom? At the beginning of Corona, these were a good substitute, but in the long run I’m more annoyed or increasingly uninterested in them than I’m looking forward to them. They often seem soulless, well-produced and stuffed full of marketing blah blah. I can understand that companies like this type of marketing control because it is more controllable and also cheaper to produce. But can these Internet shows really replace direct contact with customers? Nowhere else do you get unfiltered impressions of upcoming games. Be it through your own visit to the trade fair or through the numerous press representatives or small and large influencers. Smaller media in particular often offer a completely different perspective than the preview events that take place behind closed doors, where usually only large media or influencers with a strong reach are invited. Understandable, but a gamescom is for everyone.

In addition to the games themselves, gamescom in particular was characterized by what is probably the world’s largest community meeting. Nowhere else in the world do so many gamers come together in just a few days, and nowhere else in the world can the industry present itself to such a large number of customers. The fair is like a big class reunion and it is precisely this event that has always made gamescom excellent and a special place. You could now say that you don’t need the big exhibitors for this, that’s also possible. But as a draft horse you need them. The prospect of being able to play one of the new games for the Christmas business weeks or months in advance is what, despite all this, motivates many to visit gamescom.

1656475210 243 Comment Dont let gamescom die columns hot topic

As a fan, I hope that this year won’t leave any deep marks on gamescom and that it will never be the way we remember it before Corona. After all, with Bandai Namco, Koch Media, THQ Nordic, Sega and now Ubisoft, there are still some big players who will ensure a lot of good games in the halls. I also hope that EA and especially Xbox will follow up with a commitment. In the absence of Sony and Nintendo, Microsoft could score points with the community and bring their Xbox Game Pass for consoles and PC closer to a very wide audience.

I will definitely be strolling through the Cologne exhibition halls again and I’m looking forward to it. There will still be a lot of gamers and a lot of good games. Because apart from the big ones, there are also the indies, who will now get even more of the well-deserved attention.


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