German chancellor Angela Merkel to open Gamescom 2017
First time the country's leader will open long-running video games expo
The organisers behind Gamescom have announced Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, will officially open this year's event in Cologne.
Merkel will visit the trade and consumer games show on Tuesday, August 22nd at its usual venue of Cologne's Koelnmesse exhibition centre.
It will be the first time a head of the German government has opened Gamescom, despite the event running in Cologne since 2009. Nonetheless, the nation's games trade association and Gamescom sponsor BIU sees this as a major step forward.
""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", says managing director Felix Falk. "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."
The Chancellor's visit will no doubt result in increased security at the show. Measures were already ramped up last year following a spate of attacks in Germany.
Gamescom is the biggest event in the games industry's calendar. Last year, the show saw 345,000 visitors - a mix of consumers and industry professionals - visiting from 97 countries.