GC 2008: Games Con breaks 200K attendees

Leipziger Messe logs record turnout to largest-of-its-kind European gaming convention, announces 2009 conference to run August 19-23.

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The Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany, may currently be the largest of its kind in Europe, but its future is far from certain. In February, Germany's Bundesverband Interaktive Unterhaltungssoftware (German Federal Association for Entertainment Software) said that the Games Convention had effectively outgrown the city, and the only way to maintain growth for the gaming convention would be to move it to the more metropolitan Cologne in 2009. As the Leipziger Messe convention hall owns the rights to the Games Convention name, the new show has been branded GamesCom.

The move was met with vocal opposition from event organizers, with Leipziger Messe CEO Wolfgang Marzin boldly declaring in June that the Games Convention would return to Leipzig in 2009, with or without the support of the BIU. In its annual post-Games Convention stats dump, Marzin reiterated that fact, adding that attendees overwhelmingly seconded his stance.

"The GC - Games Convention will be back in Leipzig again in 2009," said Marzin. "The industry and visitors are giving us their clear support to continue with the fair in Leipzig." As for that support, event organizers claim 90 percent of polled exhibitors said there should be a GC in Leipzig in 2009, with 82 percent of attendees participating in the closed-to-the-public sessions also answering in the affirmative.

The public showed its support through sheer numbers. With 2007's turnout tallying 185,000, the Leipziger Messe drew crowds of 203,000 this year. Exhibitor numbers were up as well, with this year's Games Convention boasting 547 companies showing their wares, 234 of which were headquartered outside of Germany.

The 2009 Games Convention in Leipzig will run from August 19-23. As in past years, the even will be preceded by the Games Convention Developers Conference, which will lead into the event beginning August 17. The BIU has yet to reveal when its rebranded GamesCom will open its doors in Cologne, Germany.

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