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Games Convention 2006 A Raving Success

by Rainier on Aug. 28, 2006 @ 5:05 a.m. PDT

GC 2006 closed on Sunday evening with a record number of visitors. Over the past four days, a grand total of 183,000 people (compared to 134,000 in 2005) journeyed to the Leipzig Fair’s exhibition centre.

“Success on this scale is unique ever since the Leipzig Fair’s new exhibition centre was opened ten years ago. GC has clearly demonstrated that it’s the European number one not just among the general public but also in the media and business sector – making it one of the leading events in the industry anywhere in the world,” declared Josef Rahmen, CEO of the Leipzig Fair. “We’ll sit down with our exhibitors to build up the programme further so that next year we can give people even more gaming fun on days with peak numbers of visitors.”

Project Director Angela Schierholz summed up the exhibition’s success as follows: “The larger displays put together by exhibitors for older visitors and the female target group as well as the expansion of GC family and the new section GC Art have resulted in more visitors from different generations. GC has hence met one of its key aims by showing that interactive entertainment and education are relevant for society as a whole.”

According to surveys carried out by the IM Institute of Market Research, 42% of visitors were aged over 20 – an increase of 6% on last year. Seventeen per cent of visitors were female (up by 4%) – and 90% of all visitors said they’d be back! Altogether 39% of visitors travelled more than 300km (186 miles) to attend GC (up from 31% last year).

GC 2006 also clearly hit the headlines with more than 2,600 journalists from 38 countries (2005: 2,000 journalists from 26 countries) travelling to Leipzig to report on GC.

There were also satisfied faces among the exhibitors. All in all, 91% of the total of 368 exhibitors from 25 countries announced before GC closed that they would be returning to take part in GC 2007. And when asked how well their aims had been achieved at the show, 89% of exhibitors replied either ‘well’ or even ‘very well’ (up from 86% in 2005).

“At GC 2006 we reached consumers’ hearts,” stated Olaf Wolters, Chairman of the BIU German Association of Interactive Entertainment Software. “We are very satisfied with the figures. This was the first time that the BIU had its own forum at GC family – and it too went down really well with visitors.

Uwe Bassendowski, Managing Director Sony Computer Entertainment Deutschland GmbH: “We’re delighted at the extremely positive response to our innovative stand concept and our products in all genres. Thanks to our broad product portfolio, we also managed to adequately appeal to and increase the target family of families, women and girls. The record number of visitors shows once again that GC has evolved into the leading European show for interactive entertainment. And following talks with the press and the retail sector, we are very excited about the upcoming Christmas trade.”

Martin Bachmayer, Microsoft Head of Sales & Marketing: “So far GC has been a great success for us. We’ve had an opportunity to discuss the games and accessories for the Christmas period with all our dealers. Moreover, we’ve managed to do business with the main decision-makers, businesses and individual branches, and have made great headway.”

Dr Bernd Fakesch, General Manager Nintendo Germany: “We are more than satisfied with how GC has gone. The interest shown by the trade press in our new Wii console is enormous, and we’re delighted. The atmosphere in the pavilions is very harmonious. There’s a real cross-section of society here, including visitors of all generations. And I must emphasise the warmth and hospitability shown by the people of Leipzig!”

Thomas Zeitner, CEO Electronic Arts Germany: “GC is without doubt an important date in the annual calendar for sales, marketing and PR. It comes at a very good time for the Christmas trade, and being a combination of trade show and public exhibition we can see that our products really are meeting with approval – the queues in front of the stands are a very good indicator of this. Even our colleagues from Asia and New Zealand come to GC in order to get a feel for the market. We’d like to wish GC every success for the future.”

Odile Limpach, CEO of Ubisoft GmbH: “GC gives us an opportunity to get our partners together with the producers and to talk about ‘next gen topics’ – the next generation of games. In terms of sales, this is where we lay the foundations for our annual figures. We’re very pleased that more women and girls as well as older people are becoming interested in the electronic games industry, as evidenced by this year’s GC. The growing international significance of GC is clearly apparent for example from the media. For instance, half the journalists at our press conference represented foreign media. GC remains the most important exhibition in Europe.”

Martin Schneider, Konami Digital Entertainment, Sales & Marketing Director Germany: “The atmosphere is excellent, even better than in previous years. The new logistical concept works well, too. We’d like to thank the Leipzig Fair for organising and hosting GC 2006.”

Guido Karbautzki, Logitech Marketing Manager, Germany, Austria and Switzerland: “Leipzig is perfectly geared to the Leipzig Fair – and the people here are extremely friendly. The FIFA World Cup also helped to establish Leipzig as a major city to be taken seriously. It’s good for Germany that GC has become a new world exhibition. Of course we’ll be coming back in 2007 – and we hope the industry doesn’t lose its current spirit.”

Interactive experience combined with gaming, fun and information on media literacy were at the heart of GC family – the entertainment, education and knowledge forum for all the family. A new layout awaited visitors with a 5,000 square metre 3D board game in which they themselves became the pieces on the board.

“I’m completely overwhelmed at the popularity of GC family among visitors,” proclaimed Professor Hartmut Warkus from the University of Leipzig’s Department of Media Education. It’s the very first time that all the computers have been used by parents and children. And the industry’s impressed, too. Above all, the stands have developed – they’re now not dissimilar from those of the big exhibitors at GC. All the exhibitors are working closely together – and that of course boosts the numbers of visitors. GC family is part of GC – and GC belongs to Leipzig, for everyone here is working so passionately.”

Steffen Michaelis, GC family Programme Manager: “What else can we be with this exhibition apart from satisfied?! Our new concept has worked like a dream. Right from day one, GC family had loads of visitors all the time. We even had numerous kindergarten children here. And we’re particularly pleased that far more girls have come than before. In a nutshell, we’ve turned GC family into what we always wanted it to be.”

For the first time, GC turned its attention to art with the exhibitions Pong.Mythos, Machinima and Digital Beauties/Character Design. As in many areas of GC, visitors could take a hands-on approach here too, with workshops being held every day in the Machinima and Character Design zone.

Said Dr Karin Wehn from the University of Leipzig: “We were both amazed and delighted to see how well Machinima went down, given the stiff competition from all the other exciting things going on in the other exhibition halls. Loads of youngsters derived pleasure from the somewhat calmer atmosphere here and spent a long time watching the films screened. The workshops also proved very popular – and not just with male visitors! In fact half of those attending were women, and all in all the public was very heterogeneous. Those taking part in the workshops included architects, business men and women, historians and film scholars, some of whom came to Leipzig especially from abroad. And it wasn’t long before they were developing their own clever films.”

This year’s GCDC – Europe’s leading developer conference – was even bigger and more international than before. From 21–23 August 2006, it was attended by 600 conference participants who met up with the stars of the developer scene. “Within the past four years, GCDC has established itself as the industry’s most important European platform. The number of participants from both Germany and abroad has risen steadily,” explained Project Manager Frank Sliwka. The main topics this year were development, business and science, with a special international keynote devoted to each. The speakers included games guru Bob Bates (Chairman IGDA), Don L. Daglow (President, CEO Stormfront Studios) and Peter Molyneux (Lionhead).

GC 2007 will take place from 23–26 August; the next GCDC developer conference will be held from 20–22 August 2007.

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