GamesCom 2009 pulls in 245,000 attendees

Premiere of the Cologne-based games convention sees unprecedented turnout, pulling in 42K more than its 2008 Leipzig predecessor.

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Two years ago, Germany's Bundesverband Interaktive Unterhaltungssoftware (German Federal Association for Entertainment Software) announced it would secede from Leipziger Messe's yearly Games Convention and would form its own Cologne-based summit, GamesCom, in 2009. One of the reasons it gave was that the convention's host city, Leipzig, was too small and inaccessible for a popular international venue. The organization argued that the East German city barely housed the 185,000 attendees in 2007. With 245,000 attendees at the premiere of GamesCom this year, the record-breaking crowd would be enough to congest most any metropolis.

The PlayStation 3 Slim leaves its emblematic mark on Cologne.
The PlayStation 3 Slim leaves its emblematic mark on Cologne.

Today, the BIU announced the convention--which included 458 exhibiting companies from 31 countries--is now the "largest game trade fair in the world," with an additional 100,000 people attending GamesCom-related events outside the trade fairgrounds. By comparison, last year's 2008 Games Convention in Leipzig attracted 203,000.

Following a standoff between the BIU and Leipziger Messe that ended in January 2009, the latter canceled its Games Convention and launched a new show titled Games Convention Online, which focused on mobile, casual, and browser-based games. The premiere expo ran from July 31 to August 2 and pulled in 43,000, according to the organizers.

GamesCom 2009 saw the announcement of the long-rumored PlayStation 3 Slim and Microsoft's role-playing sequel Fable III. The convention also handed out its own awards for showcased games, with Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty winning best-of-show all around. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves won among console titles, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks won for mobile games, Aion won for online titles, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 won among PC games. The BIU also announced that GamesCom 2010 will run from August 18-22 next year.

For more information on GamesCom 2009, be sure to check out GameSpot's convention coverage.

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