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gamescom 2009

Coloured armband for every visitor to comply with Germany's USK age ratings.

Seminars, conventions, a youth forum with an exhibition and joint presentations offer parents and families, teachers and educators specific assistance in properly dealing with interactive entertainment media. "gamescom congress" by the state government of NRW is devoted to current debates on gaming culture. Coloured armbands for every visitor support compliance with the German USK age ratings for entertainment software at the trade fair

When it comes to interactive media and the best way to deal with them, young people and parents as well as educators and politicians find themselves in a complex area of tension. The organisers of gamescom - Europe's new leading trade fair for interactive entertainment - are aware of this and are giving the topic of Youth Protection, Media Education and Media Competency a special place at the trade fair taking place from 19 to 23 August 2009. Entitled "gameCompetence", gamescom is offering parents and families, teachers and educators a variety of specific assistance on properly dealing with interactive entertainment media in three different areas. Thanks to coloured armbands, screenings and controls in accordance with the German USK guidelines, age-appropriate usage of the games on the fairgrounds is also ensured at the stands.

"gamesCompetence" brings together a variety of contents that focus on youth protection, imparting media competence, media education, properly dealing with computer games as well as further education offers, including from governmental agencies. The line-up ranges from practical applications and tips on the age-appropriate usage of games all the way to a political summit talk. The "gamesCompetence" concept is based on three modules that complement each other and highlight the topic of youth protection from various viewpoints.

In detail, "gamesCompetence" is divided into the areas:

1. Contents by young people for young people

2. Media Competence and Media Education

3. Further education, conventions and seminars

The starting point of the By young people for young people offers is a nearly 600 square metre pavilion in Hall 8 at which primarily associations and organisations will introduce themselves. Amongst other things, project stands, workshops, discussion forums and gaming events will take place here on a stage in order to make the introduction into the gaming world understandable for parents and educators and to give practical tips on properly dealing with interactive media. Alongside this, the second module Media Competence and Media Education is geared towards the target group of educators and the media. Universities that focus on this area will discuss controversial aspects of interactive entertainment with visitors at the pavilion. A comprehensive offering of planned Workshops and Seminars by state authorities, which have been conceived as official further education events, rounds out the offer in module 3. Here the highlight is the "gamescom congresss" organised by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which is free of charge and freely accessible.

"gamescom congress" by the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia

The state government of NRW is organising the "gamescom congress 2009" together with the city of Cologne, the Media Authority of NRW (LfM) and the German Federal Association of Interactive Entertainment Software (BIU). It will take place on Thursday, 20 August in the Grosser Rheinsaal at Koelnmesse's Congress Centre North. It is devoted to the current debates on computer gaming culture, which is increasingly establishing itself between the poles of economic significance and social relevance as the media sector's new leading industry. The core issue of the one-day conference is how a society that is increasingly characterised by games can be shaped in political and regulatory terms. Here, on the one hand, it is imperative to utilise the economic and technological potential of the games industry. On the other hand, the social risks in dealing with computer games must be controlled.

In addition to numerous keynote speeches, panels and presentations, high-ranking politicians and leading industry experts will discuss the current perspectives of the games industry in a top-level talk. The congress is primarily geared towards stakeholders from the games industry, representatives from politics, culture and the press as well as multipliers from the areas of education and upbringing.

The keynote speeches and panels are devoted to, among other things, the following main points: Games between Economic Significance and Social Responsibility, Perspectives of a Gaming Society, Economic and Technological Perspectives of the Games Industry as well as the topic areas of Serious Games and Online Games. The conference programme is rounded off by exhibitions, showcases and interviews with professional gamers, guided tours and a "Parent LAN", during which parents can enter into the gaming worlds of their children with guidance from experts, thus allowing them to gain helpful insight.

Beyond this special offering, youth protection naturally also plays an important role at gamescom. Koelnmesse GmbH and the German Federal Association of Interactive Entertainment Software (BIU) take their responsibility for young people visiting the trade fair seriously and will be consistently implementing the youth protection regulations throughout the entire fairgrounds. Upon presenting an ID card at the trade fair, every visitor will be given a coloured armband that will allow him/her to view only those games that are appropriate for his/her age. For games rated USK 12 and above, binding presentation regulations that ensure the age-appropriate usage of the games apply for exhibitors during gamescom. For example, games rated USK 18 can only be shown in specially separated, secluded rooms and are subject to a special access check by exhibitors.

*All contents of "gamesCompetence" with the highlight of the "gamescom congress" programme can be found on the homepage as soon as their final versions are available.

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