A senior German industry source has told VG247 that he is “99 percent sure” that today’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) speculation report that 2009’s Games Convention will be held in Cologne is correct.
The story said that Games Convention is to move to Cologne next year, but may undergo a name change. It also said that there is talk of Leipziger Messe, the owner of the Games Convention IP, licensing the property to another firm for €450,000 for three years.
“I’m 99 percent sure it’s true,” said the source. “It’s the only way to make it truly international, because of flight connections, and so on. There’s Cologne airport, Bonn airport and Düsseldorf is next door. Then you have the big boys, EA and Ubisoft, in Cologne and Düsseldorf. It all makes sense.”
He went on, explaining that the FAZ is a highly regarded publication.
“The FAZ is one of the two most respected newspapers in Germany, and those details are pretty specific, to be honest,” he said. “It’s not a rumour newspaper. It’s a paper mainly for the financial community, based in Frankfurt, so I don’t expect them to write something they just heard somewhere.”
Talk of Games Convention moving from Leipzig is years old, mainly due to poor flight connections to the east German town and a lack of hotels close to the Messe. The source continued, saying that rumoured targets of doubling the show’s attendance could never be achieved in Leipzig.
“There have been so many rumours in the past,” he said. “To be fair, the Bundesverband Interaktive Unterhaltungssoftware [BIU, the German equivalent of ESA or ELSPA – Ed] is in control of it, but no one really mentions it, and EA is in Cologne. They might be the driving force behind it.
“There was talk of a target of an attendance of 400,000 people for Games Convention, and this can only be achieved in [the German state of] Nordrhein-Westfalen. So it can only be in Cologne, Essen, or wherever. It can’t be anywhere else, because that’s the state with the strongest population. They have 19 million people there.”
If the move is a reality, said the source, you’re going to know about it sooner rather than later.
“I don’t think there’s any way to confirm this further,” he said. “No one will comment on it. They’ll have to tell everyone soon if they are going to move it for 2009. It’s the biggest games show in the world, and it’s already February 2008.”
Rumour is now circulating that next week’s GDC may see an announcement regarding the location of next year’s show. This year’s Games Convention will be held as usual in Leipzig, running from August 20-24.