Games Convention splashes Cologne in 2009

GamesCom announced as new European gaming event, decision to move from Leipzig due to lack of infrastructure to deal with masses.

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Germany's Bundesverband Interaktive Unterhaltungssoftware (German Federal Association for Entertainment Software) has confirmed that it will be holding itsannual gaming convention in Cologne in 2009. The annual games convention takes place in August, with last year's event boasting talks from Denis Dyack, Peter Molyneux, Don Daglow, and Jeff Strain.

The BIU members were "unanimous" in their decision to move the event, as they believe that otherwise it will not be able to grow.

According to the announcement, "It was predicted that 200,000 visitors would come to the Games Convention in 2007, but in the end there was only a 1 percent rise over the previous year to 185,000. The hotels in Leipzig and the surrounding areas were completely packed out, and another problem was the lack of international flights to the region."

BIU head Olaf Wolters explained that he believed that relocating the event to Cologne would solve these issues. He said, "It has a modern exhibition centre, and the international transport links are excellent, and the hotel infrastructure can support it more than adequately."

Since the Leipzig fair has the rights to the name Games Convention and will not sell them, the new event will be renamed GamesCom, reports German newspaper Frankfurter Allegmeine.

The director of the Cologne Messe, Oliver Kuhrt, said that he was extremely pleased at the decision, and that his goal would be to grow the fair and make it a "top European event."

A statement released by the Games Convention organisers said that it "regretted" the BIU's decision. Lord Mayor Burkhard Jung said, "Leipzig is well positioned in terms of service, environment and accessibility, and in the coming years will continue to invest in infrastructure. For Leipzig the decision of the association is a severe blow."

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