Fans of interactive entertainment can look forward to world and European premieres of games, action, events and entertainment in Cologne at gamescom, already the international meeting place of the industry at its very first staging
Gamescom is under starter's orders and the stands are already being set up in Cologne. Organiser Koelnmesse and its ideal partner the German Association of Interactive Entertainment Software (Bundesverband Interaktive Unterhaltungssoftware - BIU) are eagerly waiting to greet more than 420 exhibitors from 30 countries from 19-23 August. With foreign participation at 45 per cent, gamescom has become the industry's international meeting point at a stroke. Over a total of 120,000 square metres of exhibition space, the industry community, from developers to publishers and trading partners all the way to the large group of gamers, will meet in halls 4 to 9 of Koelnmesse.
Fans and friends of interactive entertainment can look forward to a grand show of game premieres, a spectacular event and entertainment programme on the entire trade show grounds - indoors and outdoors - and in the city itself at the gamescom Festival. Already well over 100 world, European and German premieres of games in all genres are on the bill. With more than 30 exhibitors from the areas of media learning and expertise, and the gamescom congress organised by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Europe's largest event for interactive entertainment and games is also giving a huge boost to child welfare. Koelnmesse, the German Association of Interactive Entertainment Software (BIU), the City of Cologne and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia are ready to launch the premiere of gamescom. "The games can begin," say Oliver P. Kuhrt, Managing Director of Koelnmesse, and Olaf Wolters, head of the BIU, in unison.
Industry meeting place
With foreign companies making up 45 per cent of exhibitors - including firms from the UK, France, the US and Canada - gamescom is already the new international industry meeting place right from the start. Games producers from France, Italy, the UK, Scandinavia, Taiwan and Thailand will present their products on six shared stands. The business area (halls 4 and 5) will see the European games industry do business with their trading partners, while the entertainment area (halls 6 to 9) is devoted to companies presenting their new products to private visitors. For example in hall 6 of gamescom, companies including Activision Blizzard, Capcom, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Square Enix and Take Two will showcase their latest titles. In hall 7, Konami, Sony and Ubisoft, Bigben Interactive, Hama, Koch Media and others will cater to fans of interactive entertainment. In hall 8, next to the north entrance, firms including Nintendo, Namco Bandai, Sega, Warner Brothers, dtp and Tivola will present their innovations. Hall 9 puts e-sports, core gaming and the dynamic online gaming segment centre stage. Here, Turtle Entertainment, GOA, NcSoft, Funcom and others will show their products in the best light. To ensure that visitors to gamescom have as much active gaming time as possible, themed game zones (lifestyle, sport, action & adventure, e-sports) will complement the exhibitor stands. This is where the virtual world of games meets its real-world counterpart.
World premieres and interactive supporting programme
In the entertainment area, visitors to gamescom will experience a festival of new computer and video games. It will feature new products in just about every genre, from infotainment and edutainment games, to casual, sports and music games, all the way to action and adventure. In short, video and PC, online and browser games producers and hardware providers, too, will be presenting their latest developments, with exhibitors presenting more than one hundred world, European and German premieres. Sports fans, for example, can look forward to the premieres of Pro Evolution Soccer 10, FIFA 10, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 and Tony Hawk Ride, while racing aficionados will be treated to Need for Speed Nitro and Forza Motorsport 3. The pulses of music-lovers will also be quickened by titles such as Guitar Hero 5, DJ Hero 5, The Beatles Rock Band, Band Hero, LIPS - No. 1 Hits and Just sing.
The line-up of global players from around the world is already being hotly awaited by the European gaming community in the focus area of online, browser and mobile games. Besides browser game market leaders gameforge and Bigpoint, more than 20 companies from Germany, Europe and South Korea will present the entire gamut of games and latest blockbusters, among them World of Warcraft and "Celebrities".
Away from the screens and monitors, the interactive supporting programme at gamescom will provide the best in entertainment. Creative costumed action fans and friends of relaxing entertainment at gamescom will certainly get their money's worth in the real world too. For example, from Thursday the best case modders will battle it out in the German case-modding championships, which will award prizes to the most inventive homemade PC housings. People looking to enter the games industry or move within it will want to head straight to the job and career centre in hall 8. There visitors will also find the "Retro Gaming 1972-2009" exhibition, showcasing almost four decades of gaming history. Outside, cosplayers - costumed players - will be awaiting their turn. On Saturday, the south entrance will be the setting for a cosplay world record attempt, which has been officially registered with Guinness World of Records. Another outdoor event will see the most daring motorcyclists take their racers through the freestyle course. In hall 8, the German Motorcycle Trade Association (Industrie-Verband Motorrad Deutschland - IVM) will showcase the fascinating world of motorbikes and scooters. Participation is the order of the day in other supporting events too. The outdoor course will test entrants' mettle in overcoming obstacles and becoming the fastest and most effective in getting from A to B, a skill that comes first and foremost in many games, after all. Trade show visitors can also attend small workshops to learn the basics of this trend discipline straight from the pros. From Thursday to Sunday, the other outdoor exhibitor events will provide perfect entertainment for fans and families alike. Those in need of a break from the hubbub in the halls and the grounds can escape to the gamescom beach, where they can relax and recharge before the next round of show highlights.
"gamesCompetence" unites teaching content and expertise
Youth protection, media learning and instruction in media skills come under the "gamesCompetence" heading at gamescom. This event throws the spotlight on offers from young people for their age group, associations, clubs and institutions, as well as the gamescom congress organised by the state government. Almost 40 exhibitors, among them associations, clubs, and educational facilities, will actively participate in the "gamesCompetence" event highlight. The NRW 2009 Youth Forum in hall 8 hosted in collaboration with Cologne Youth Welfare Office will centre on offers from young people for young people. Also taking part in the "gamesCompetence" programme: the Federal Centre for Political Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung - BpB), the Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media (Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz - KJM), the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien - BPjM) and educational facilities including the University of Cologne. The main highlight of the gamescom days under the sign of youth protection, media learning and expertise is the gamescom congress to be staged under the state government's auspices on 20 August in the Congress Centre North. The congress, which is free to all, is devoted to the latest debates revolving around the world of computer gaming. The topic of age-appropriate use of interactive media does not only play a role in the specialist part of gamescom - the right way to deal with games will also be demonstrated live in the trade show grounds. To ensure young people are protected at gamescom itself, visitors will be given coloured armbands according to their age. This follows the guidelines of self-regulating software body the USK and enables exhibitors to ensure that games are only played by the age groups they are intended for. Games for players aged 16 and over will be demonstrated in a closed-off area of exhibitor stands. All in all, the offers for parents and teachers, educators, politicians, media and other interested parties at "gamescompetence" range from practical applications and tools all the way to top political discussions.
The gamescom Festival takes the games into the city
The supporting gamescom Festival takes the games into the city where it will address the target group of casual gamers, leisure and occasional players after the trade show closes with lots of fun. The city centre around Rudolfplatz, Friesenplatz and Neumarkt will feature two stages with an entertaining line-up of live acts, while the area between Rudolfplatz and Friesenplatz will be given over to interactive gaming with show trucks and game modules. The festival will open its doors on 19 August with top European music act Die Toten Hosen who will appear with Gentlemen and other top names to rock the audience in the dancing zone adjoining the trade show grounds. Following the opening ceremony on Wednesday, the city festival in downtown Cologne will provide spectacular entertainment from Friday to Sunday. National and international music acts, interactive gaming and the BÄM Awards will showcase fun from its best angle over three days true to the gamescom motto, "Celebrate the games".
You can find further information on gamescom - the trade fair and event highlight for the international interactive entertainment industry - at www.gamescom-cologne.com . The latest news is also available as an RSS feed in the press area.