At the start of the world’s largest computer games fair, Gamescom, thousands of people flocked to the Cologne exhibition halls on Wednesday. The offer is bigger than ever, 1227 exhibitors show new games, hardware and other products from the gaming world until Saturday – that’s around 100 exhibitors more than last year. Among the companies are Nintendo, Netease, Tencent and Ubisoft. The streaming services Netflix, Disney, Crunchyroll and Amazon Prime are also included.

In 2022, 265,000 people came to the event of the gamer scene, this year there should be more. The record was 373,000 viewers in 2019. The reach on the internet is also large, millions of people from all over the world follow Gamescom events on the web.

Long queues at many stalls

Among the stars appearing in Cologne this year is the US film director Zack Snyder, who has had success with action films such as “300” and “Justice League”. His Netflix two-parter “Rebel Moon” is scheduled for release at the end of 2023 and in spring 2024 – according to a trailer shown at the Gamescom opening show, it will be a science fiction spectacle that is as visually stunning as it is bloodthirsty.

Snyder pointed out that an associated game is also planned. “There are great parallels between storytelling in a video game and in film. The boundaries are fluid,” he told dpa on Wednesday. “Although the big hype from games like ‘Halo’ or ‘Call of Duty’ hasn’t jumped over to the big screen yet. But we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Among the games presented at the fair are a new version of the first-person shooter series “Call of Duty”, the horror survival games “Alan Wake 2” and “Stalker 2: Heart of Chornobyl” as well as the action role-playing game “Starfield” and the strategy game “Warhammer Age of Sigmar”. Long queues of gamers who wanted to play formed at many booths. The Wednesday was actually reserved for trade visitors, but selected fans were also admitted. In the coming days, the number of visitors is likely to be significantly higher – from Thursday everyone who has a ticket will be admitted. Saturday is already sold out.

Debate about federal funding

There were numerous people in costume among the visitors to the fair on Wednesday. In so-called cosplay, fans dress up based on characters from various video games. In addition to the classic scores, there was a stage program with discussions, concerts and game competitions. Politicians were also present, on Wednesday evening Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Hendrik Wüst (CDU) and Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) were expected as guests.

Meanwhile, the debate about federal funding continued. According to the proposal by the Federal Ministry of Economics, only 48.7 million euros should flow to German games companies in the coming year, in 2023 it was 70 million. The Game association fears a severe setback for the domestic industry. The CDU state politician Wüst spoke up and advocated an increase in federal funding. However, his party only sits on the opposition bench in the Bundestag. Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck emphasized the importance of the industry in a statement, but did not go into the question of funding.

The gamer industry has been growing for years, and it got a big boost in the times of Corona – back then people were at home a lot and therefore had time for the virtual worlds. Demand is also expected to grow in the coming years. German developers only play a secondary role in the business, but want to benefit more from global growth than before.