Organizers of the Games Convention (GC), in Leipzig, Germany have revealed initial details of overall attendance for the event, with the total number of visitors expected to top 110,000 by Sunday.
28,000 visitors attended the convention on Thursday, the first day of the event not reserved for press and industry employees. This compares favorably to the 16,000 attending the first day of the event last year. The number of participants at the developers conference doubled to around 500, said organizers Leipziger Messe.
"The first day has greatly exceeded our expectations. The superlative show provided by our exhibitors with almost 200 first-time presentations is exactly what the visitors want," commented Josef Rahmen, CEO of Leipziger Messe.
The perceived future of the event, though, is still a matter of discussion in wider circles, with some industry figures suggesting that a move to the larger cities of Cologne or Berlin, or even outside of Germany would benefit the event. Traditionally, the now-defunct ECTS in London has been the premier European trade event, but after years of decline the annual event was finally shut down last year, alongside rival event Game Stars Live, also unable to make a re-appearance this year.
The Games Market Europe (GME) event
later this month is intended as somewhat of a replacement, but does not yet seem to have attracted as wide a range of companies as the Leipzig convention, and has no related consumer attractions.
Although Germany is the largest, but slowest growing economy in Europe, it is not the largest video games market, with a very strong PC market offset by weak console usage – behind countries such as the UK, France and Spain. Only one in ten households in Germany owns a console, compared to one in three in the U.S. In total Germans spent €466 million ($566m) on video games in 2004, compared to an estimated global worth of $25 billion.
Despite this and the lower profile of the Leipzig Games Conference compared to E3 and the Tokyo Game Show, several major announcements were made at this year’s event – including the unveiling of the Xbox 360
and Game Boy Micro
price structures. "We have some way to catch up, to put it mildly," said Rahmen in comments to German site Heise Online: "It's a very important industry, and we shouldn't leave it all to our American, Japanese and English friends."