Meet the Event That Drew 345,000 People

Gamescom, in its sixth year, was already one of the world's largest video game industry events, but it was even bigger this time around. Here are some of the things that made the event stand out.

You may be well-versed in running conferences that have thousands or even tens of thousands of attendees, but an event the size of the German conference Gamescom might daunt even the most seasoned events pro.

The sixth edition of the event, organized by Germany’s Federal Association of Interactive Entertainment Software (BIU), drew a record 345,000 visitors to Cologne over five days last week [PDF]—of which 33,000 were professionals in the video game industry. Gamescom can best be described as a combination of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), in that it’s a trade event, and San Diego’s Comic-Con, in that it’s open to the public and nonprofessional attendees make up much of the audience.

“Gamescom has reached the next level—it has not only experienced further growth this year in terms of the exhibition space and the numbers of trade and private visitors,” BIU Managing Director Maximilian Schenk  said in a news release. “Thanks to many new events and campaigns, it has also become even more diversified this year. It is a reflection of the increasing significance of computer and video games in our society.”

Elements of Growth

Gamescom features a wide array of events and attendees. The tradeshow—which occupied more than 2 million square feet of space—attracted more than 800 companies from around the world. BIU used the event to highlight budding trends in the industry, such as e-sports and virtual reality. And Gamescom’s city festival drew some of the event’s largest crowds for more than just gaming: food trucks, bands, and family activities kept attendees entertained.

Gamescom took place just weeks after E3, which meant that it didn’t generate a lot of fresh industry news for the 6,000 media representatives present. But many attendees are there for reasons other than big product reveals.

“An industry exec told me during the show that they loved Gamescom, but it’s become a show to ‘maintain relationships’, pointing to [Chinese digital entertainment expo] Chinajoy as a recent, and more successful, business trip,” wrote MCV‘s Christopher Dring. “But the truth is that these shows are what you make of it. It is easy to get into a routine, to book the same appointments with the same people, but that’s not Gamescom’s fault. That’s yours.”

With its recent growth, Gamescom has become one of the largest gaming conferences in the world, far outdrawing similar events in China, the U.S., and elsewhere.

“The growth in the number of visitors and exhibitors and the expanded exhibition surface, combined with the measures to improve the quality of the event, are important components for the permanent and sustainable success of Gamescom,” noted Gerald Böse, president and CEO of Koelnmesse, the convention venue that hosted the event.

(Credit: Gamescom)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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