By Tim Segler
The Electronic Entertainment Expo for 2015 is over and now the wait is on for the new games coming soon to a console or personal computer. From June 16, 2015 until June 18, 2015 the gaming community and trade press have explored new products and innovations in the field of interactive entertainment industry. Every visitor had agreed that this year’s annual E3 delivered some breathtaking game reveals. Sequels of great game franchises like Fallout, Uncharted, Mass Effect, Star Wars: Battlefront, Dark Souls, Need for Speed, Assassin’s Creed, Forza Motorsport, Just Cause or Call of Duty dominated the show. Annually the focus lay on console games.
Over three days in June, the video game industry brings developers, retailers, and media together to show off the Next Big Thing while the world watches from afar. At E3, it’s all about the consoles. The two-story Xbox and Sony booths competed for attention like warring skyscrapers, and the vast Nintendo empire stretched as far as the eye could see. With the exception of the Oculus booth, which had a huge line the entire week, the PC gaming area was a series of small booths, with keyboards and mice, a pair of headphones, and a monitor. So like any year before the E3 drawn the line between console and PC games.
A console owner buys the device, and then upgrades it with new controllers and games for the lifetime of the console – a few years, usually until the new one comes out. It’s a system that works well if you don’t want to worry about whether a game you want will run or not. For a PC gamer, any new piece of hardware is like a console release, and we’ll spend years tuning and upgrading a computer to keep up with the latest and greatest technology.
PC gaming is obviously a huge market but, until now, the platform has never had its own event or has got a special attention during one of the biggest games conventions in the world. There is a little difference to the biggest European video gaming expo, the “Gamescom” in Cologne. Since the establishment of a permanent video games convention in Germany in 2002, desktop PC games have always played a traditional role. In Germany alone, more than 20,4 millions of PC games were sold in the last year – more games as for all console systems together.
But E3 is in danger of losing its prominence in the hierarchy of video game relevance, and it’s primary competition is coming from the “Old World”, at an event that’s not just for the game makers and game talkers, but the game players as well. Here are the reasons why Gamescom is primed to be bigger than E3.
Gamescom is the European E3, a four-day event held in Cologne, Germany, its August dates neatly nestled between June’s E3 and September’s Tokyo Game Show. Unlike E3, Gamescom is not just a trade show for retailers and members of the press: the general public can attend Gamescom right alongside the developers and journalists they follow on Facebook and Twitter.
TGS also allows the public to attend the festivities, and throughout the landscape of gaming showcases attendance has been on the rise. This year’s E3 set a new attendance record of 49,200 over the course of three days, while TGS was party to 270,000. Meanwhile in Germany, Gamescom was besting them all. Last year, Cologne hosted nearly 350,000 gamers, an average of 116,000 per day on the show floor.
Europe has become a bastion for Western game development, with EA’s DICE (Sweeden), Sony’s Guerrilla Games (Amsterdam), Evolution and Media Molecule (UK), Ubisoft (France), and more. Having one of gaming’s greatest showcases in the heart of the continent and giving their consumers access to the latest games is a huge marketing tool for publishers, and pays dividends come release when the public already has had a taste of what is in store.
According to project director Tim Endres, Gamescom could become a lot bigger. „We have the space to grow. There are more halls available to us.“ He said that attracting more visitors is not a problem. „If we attract more exhibitors, more visitors will come,“ he said.
Endres said he expects more companies to use Gamescom as a platform to make big announcements and first reveals, although E3 still holds pre-eminence in this department. E3 was originally envisioned as a way for publishers to pitch products to retailers in good time for the peak holiday season, although that function is fading as retail consolidates and digital hubs grow.
By Tim Segler