[From the industry] Opening of gamescom 2022 in Cologne draws political interest

This is a press release posted in addition to our usual editorial content.

gamescom 2022 has officially opened its doors. Following two years in which the world’s biggest games event had to take place entirely online on account of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s event drew numerous guests of honour from the political sphere to the political opening in Cologne. The political figures on hand included Hendrik Wüst, Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia, Michael Kellner, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, and Henriette Reker, Mayor of Cologne and Chairwoman of the Koelnmesse Supervisory Board. Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck was unable to appear in person on account of the current situation around the energy supply in Germany and sent a video message instead. Official tours of the trade fair gave more than 170 guests from the world of politics the chance to gain an overview of the latest developments in the games industry. These tours were followed by the political opening in the Konrad-Adenauer-Saal at Koelnmesse’s Congress Centre North. The welcome addresses highlighted the special importance of the games industry to Germany and the political measures being taken to strengthen the location, as well as how much it meant to finally have gamescom taking place in person in Cologne once again. In his video message, Robert Habeck also made it clear that Germany as a games location requires support from the political sphere, with a range of supplemental and expanded measures. In between, there were highlights from the show ‘gamescom: Opening Night Live’, developers from Black Forest Games and Fein Games in Germany shared insights into their work, Ubisoft demonstrated how they are highlighting the topic of environmental and climate protection both in their company and in their games, and Microsoft joined forces with Samsung to show off the possibilities offered by cloud gaming. The nearly one-hour opening event was presented by the journalist Daniel Finger.

f.l.t.r: Gerald Böse, President and Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse, Henriette Reker, Mayor of Cologne and Chairwoman of the Koelnmesse Supervisory Board, Michael Kellner, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Hendrik Wüst, Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia, Felix Falk, Managing Director of game – The German Games Industry Association, Nathanael Liminski, Minister for Federal, European and International Affairs and the Media, Lars Janssen, Chairman of the Executive Board of game – German Games Industry Association, Photo by Franzsika Krug / getty images for game – Verband der deutschen Games-Branche

The video of the gamescom 2022 political opening can be watched on demand here.

Robert Habeck, Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action: ‘It is good that gamescom is opening its doors again after a two-year break. Games are closely linked with the economy, whether it’s in promoting startups, attracting businesses or recruiting skilled workers. Our goal is to strengthen the creativity and innovative power of this exciting, forward-looking industry and to further increase the added value of Germany as an attractive games hub.’

Hendrik Wüst, Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia: ‘Gamescom is one of the most important platforms for computer and video games in the world. Here in North Rhine-Westphalia, the major gaming trends are brought to life and the gaming community gets an exclusive glimpse into the future of gaming. Video games are a source of innovation. They not only fascinate millions of gamers, but are also an important economic driver for our state and a catalyst for many other industries. North Rhine-Westphalia is the leading state in Germany for games, and I’m delighted that gamescom can once again take place with in-person exchanges this year.’

Felix Falk, Managing Director of game – the German Games Industry Association, which is a joint organiser of gamescom, says: ‘gamescom is back! We are particularly delighted by the tremendous political interest, and by the signal that is being sent. Many of the political guests made it crystal clear that strengthening Germany as a games location is a long-term project for which further steps must be taken. And they are correct, because our efforts to improve Germany’s attractiveness as a games location were never seen as a short-term solution. They are part of a long-term plan, and that is why funding cannot be allowed to decline, as it would do under the current federal budget proposal. Instead, funding needs to be increased where it is needed most, so that we can become more competitive. Otherwise we will be unable to catch up with locations like Canada and the UK, who have been investing heavily in games for many years on account of their status as a key digital market for the future.’

Henriette Reker, Mayor of the City of Cologne and Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board of Koelnmesse: ‘Strong exhibitor participation and a large international component with over 75 percent of exhibitors coming from outside Germany – a historic level – show just how important gamescom is on the international stage. It should be noted that gamescom’s importance is also reflected in our city. Cologne is already an attractive location for the industry, something that is demonstrated by the wide range of companies that have set up shop here: not only is Cologne home to international heavyweights such as EA and ESL Gaming, but it also hosts a large number of start-ups, indie studios, initiatives and associations. To ensure that it is possible for trade fairs to continue making our city and state an attractive location for companies, I believe that it is essential that we have more planning certainty when it comes to federal and regional measures to fight the pandemic.’

Gerald Böse, President and Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse: ‘gamescom is one of Koelnmesse’s flagship events. With it, we not only show how exciting digital offerings and emotional on-site programming can be merged in the best possible way. gamescom is also an example of our efforts to make the trade fair business sustainable. It therefore makes me – and the entire gamescom team – proud that, after two purely digital events, we are now finally holding gamescom in our exhibition halls again.’

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