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Games Convention fixes sights on North America

We already have proof positive that Leipzig is to remain GC’s central base of operations, but the super-sized convention may soon be expanding its empire onto North American shores.

“The concept is flexible and the network of the global games industry permits us to be active at different locations. After the Southeast Asian Games Convention, we are now focusing on the North American market,” said Leipziger Messe boss Wolfgang Marzin.

The news comes after a highly successful GC08, and confirmation that next year's show will indeed take place, despite the BIU putting on GamesCOM in Cologne for the first time in 2009.

The full press release, mostly elaborating on the boasts in the aforelinked post, is after the break.

By Nathan Grayson

Games Industry Staying in Leipzig for 2009

*Exhibitors and Trade Visitors Vote for the Traditional Venue for the
Industry's European Benchmark Fair*

*Clear “yes” to Leipzig from Gamers*

*New Record: 203.000 Visitors Flocked to the Leipzig Exhibition Centre*

“The GC – Games Convention will be back in Leipzig again in 2009”, as
Wolfgang Marzin, CEO at the Leipziger Messe GmbH, has announced on the
last day of Europe’s biggest games fair. “The industry and visitors are
giving us their clear support to continue with the fair in Leipzig.” He
named 19 to 23 August 2009 as the dates for the next GC – Games Convention.

In a representative survey carried out by the Leipzig Institut für
Marktforschung, the vast majority from the games industry and of
visitors voted to keep the GC – Games Convention at its traditional
venue in Leipzig. To the question “Do you think there should be a GC in
Leipzig in 2009?”, only ten per cent of exhibitors answered “no”. And
out of the 14.600 trade visitors at the GC – Games Convention, only 13.2
per cent responded with “no”. *

Private visitors voted with a clear “yes”, with more than a third of
them having travelled over 300 kilometres to be here: 82.1 per cent of
them want a GC 2009 in Leipzig. “It’s a clear picture”, is how Messe
boss Marzin described the outcome.

*City Mayor Promises the Industry his Full Support*

Burkhard Jung, mayor of Leipzig City, was pleased with the clear vote of
confidence from the industry. “Anyone who has experienced the
enthusiastic mood in the exhibition halls over the last seven years
knows: this fair belongs in Leipzig.” Jung, who is also chairman of the
board at Leipziger Messe GmbH, assured the games industry of his full
support for the future. For example, four new hotels with 1,500 beds
were to be built and would also be available in future for other trade
show events. “The fairs and conferences in Leipzig are becoming
increasingly international and attract more and more visitors. We’re
pleased with this development. I completely agree with the governor of
the Free State of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich, that we will do everything
to help this new cultural sector and the GC – Games Convention to
achieve further success.”

The European benchmark fair for interactive entertainment, infotainment,
edutainment and hardware was launched in 2002. Alongside the Tokyo Games
Show, Leipzig’s GC – Games Convention is the biggest computer and video
games fair in the world.

*Next Level: GC global*

At the same time, CEO Wolfgang Marzin announced that the GC – Games
Convention will continue to expand its international portfolio. An
off-shoot was started last year in Singapore in the shape of GC Asia,
and was an immediate success for the industry. The second GC Asia is
being held in four weeks’ time in Singapore from 18 to 20 September.

The GC could be adjusted to suit different markets, said Marzin. “The
concept is flexible and the network of the global games industry permits
us to be active at different locations. After the Southeast Asian Games
Convention, we are now focusing on the North American market.”

*New High Score for Europe’s Benchmark Fair: 203.000 Visitors*

For the seventh time in succession, the GC – Games Convention ended in
Leipzig on Sunday with a visitor record: over the past few days, 203.000
trade visitors and game fans have flocked to the biggest European fair
for interactive entertainment, infotainment, edutainment and hardware.
The Leipziger Messe saw record attendances from the start of this year’s
GC – Games Convention. The number of exhibitors had risen from 503 to
547, the area occupied from 112,500 to 115,000 square metres, and the
Games Convention had never been as international as it was this year:
234 companies came to Leipzig from other countries, compared to 189 in 2007.

The GC Business Center also chalked up big increases, having been
expanded by a third to 40,000 square metres. Altogether 14.600 trade
visitors were counted here (2007: 12,300).

The mood was very good among exhibitors in the GC Business Center: 74
per cent of exhibitors felt their participation was at least as good
this year as it was last year. 87 per cent were happy with trade visitor
volume in terms of numbers. And a total of 90 per cent stated they had
achieved their own objectives.

Survey results in the exhibition halls were even more positive: 92 per
cent of the 547 exhibitors said their targets had been achieved well or
very well; this corresponds to last year’s level.

*Media Reporting in 48 Countries*

The international importance of Leipzig’s GC – Games Convention is also
reflected in the media response: 3,800 journalists from 48 countries
filed their reports from the games industry’s European platform (2007:
3,395 from 46 countries).

*Video Games Live: Fantastic Prelude to the Fair*

This year’s GC – Games Convention kicked off with a top-quality German
premiere. At the Arena Leipzig, Video Games Live, the cult show from the
USA, was received with wildly enthusiastic applause. Conducted by Jack
Wall, the Video Games Live Symphony Orchestra and a powerfully-voiced
choir played the best hits in computer and video game history, such as
“Halo”, “Final Fantasy” and “Tomb Raider”. Parallel to the music, game
scenes flashed across a giant screen, actors took on the roles of
digital characters and the very brave could come on stage to test their
skills in competition.

*GC Freestyle Popular Among Young Visitors*

A large number of young visitors also stayed the night again at the GC
Freestyle gamer camp. When the fair closed, they saw out the day in the
various chillout areas. On the four days of the GC, the organisers
counted more than 4,000 overnight stays at the Leipzig Festwiese near
the city centre. A survey showed this option was very welcome, with
particular mention of the central location and the affordable prices.

*Gaming in the Family*

For the sixth time, the special GC family area invited beginners,
parents, teachers and educationalists to find out about the wide range
of child-appropriate games. The play arena was a first port of call this
year. Every quarter of an hour, visitors could play against one another
in direct duels or as teams and win attractive prizes. Those wanting a
bit more peace and quiet could test out the latest children’s software
in one of the five theme-based game zones. The GC family again attracted
great interest: 77 per cent of all visitors to the fair were interested
in this special section at the GC.

*Careers Advice from GC Job & Career*

There was particularly strong visitor interest in the new GC Job &
Career section. A large number of school and college students and
university graduates took the opportunity to find out about study
courses in the GC Forum and from the exhibiting universities. On the
Friday, the exhibiting companies provided their human resources officers
to answer the young gamers’ questions.

The next GC – Games Convention will be from 19 to 23 August 2009 in
Leipzig. It will again feature the GC Developers Conference GCDC,
scheduled from 17 to 19 August.

*The remaining percentages were abstentions.

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Patrick Garratt

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Patrick Garratt is a games media legend - and not just by reputation. He was named as such in the UK's 'Games Media Awards', the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award. After garnering experience on countless gaming magazines, he joined Eurogamer and later split from that brand to create VG247, putting the site on the map with fast, 24-hour a day coverage, and assembling the site's earliest editorial teams. He retired from VG247, and the games industry, in 2017.