Gamescom reaches Koelnmesse’s limits
This year’s gamescom was a total success as a trade fair, again. However, the new visitor record of 340,000 people displays the limits of the location in Cologne.
In its fifth year of existence, Gamescom breached the mark of 300,000 visitors for the first time. From 275,000 visitors in 2012, this year’s fair attracted a total of 340,000 people. 645 exhibitors from 40 countries presented their new products, including the world’s first shows of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
eSports-wise, Gamescom was also very successful with both League of Legends and Starcraft 2 with major presence in hall 8 of Koelnmesse. Additionally, World of Tanks, Infinite Crisis and other games presented themselves directly or via their partner ESL with their own tournaments and showgames. ESL’s total area with four different stages accounted for 6,000 m² exhibition area, another record.
Gamescom completely booked out by both exhibitors and visitors
In principle, Cologne is the perfect city for holding Gamescom, the biggest gaming exhibition of the world. The city has got almost one million inhabitants, is a center for the entertainment and digitial industry and has the third largest exhibition area in Germany. Those advantages in company with the better hotel situation led the German Federal Association of Interactive Entertainment Software (BIU) to sporting Cologne’s Gamescom over Leipzig’s Games Convention back in 2009.
However, partially because of the two next-generation consoles presented in Cologne, all standard tickets for Wednesday to Sunday were sold out in advance. The Saturday tickets were only available online through reservations. The 140,000 m² which are available for Gamescom in the area of Koelnmesse were completely packed with exhibitors which reportedly complained about the area simply being too packed.
No more space for expansion
Gamescom’s problem in Cologne: There is no space for expansion. There are only four halls available with a ceiling height of over 10 meters and a high maximum floor load. The other seven halls, three of which are used by the business area and a food center during gamescom, can’t serve for the large booths required for the desired shows and playing areas.
This situation pressures the hosts of Gamescom, especially the BIU and Koelnmesse. If a further growth of Gamescom is expected and wanted, they might have to adjust the expo's design. An additional day, maybe on Tuesday, could help spread the visitor masses across more days, but would in turn increase expenses and effort of the exhibitors. Another relocation within Germany could theoretically also be possible, but only Frankfurt and Hannover offer more indoor space with high ceilings. Frankfurt’s most common exhibition is the biennial car-exhibition IAA and Hannover just booted the entertainment part out of their crowd puller CeBIT for next year.
Both Hannover and Frankfurt are not exactly known as entertainment and media centers. In some weird way, that leaves the fans of Gamescom in Cologne hoping this year’s record won’t be breached again in 2014.
More information: gamescom press release