Leipzig's Games Convention Online will be a trade-only event this year, in what organizers say is a "regrettable, but necessary" decision to remove its consumer component.
The event, set for July 8-10, will feature business-oriented talks and panels, and organizer Leipziger Messe says the industry exhibition is larger than last year's. But strategy director Silvana Kuerschner says not enough exhibitors had registered nor presentations planned that would meet the public's expectation.
"That would neither guarantee the business success of the trade show, nor satisfy the interest of visitors whose past experiences bring them with high expectations to Leipzig," Kuerschner said. According to Leipziger Messe, 2009 saw 74 exhibitors in two separate halls that were open to the general public.
Organizers highlighted the business-to-business event's function as a matchmaking center, noting that business matchmaking has a particularly high-interest area for attendees this year.
In particular, they said, GCO 2010 -- which is competing on some levels with Cologne's now larger GamesCom and GDC Europe event, also being held in July -- is intended as an ideal forum for Asian online game companies to make European contacts.
GCO's advisory council expressed regret at the public component's cancellation, but said the event's focus on online gaming was still essential: "The GCO is focusing on online gaming and we think that's right, because online is the growth market for games," said board chairman Mark Wardenga. "We continue to work closely with Leipziger Messe in order to consolidate the GCO as an industry platform," he said.