German Chancellor Angela Merkel will open gamescom 2017 when it begins on Tuesday, August 22 in Cologne, Germany, organizer Koelnmesse announced today. gamescom is the world’s largest event for video games, and this will mark the first time Merkel has opened it.
Felix Falk, Managing Director of the German Trade Association of Interactive Entertainment Software, said:
We consider it a great honour and a sign of recognition that Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel will this year participate in the opening tour of gamescom.
The visit of Dr. Merkel underlines the importance of the games industry for the cultural, digital and business location of Germany. Whether virtual reality, gamification or 3D simulations: the technologies of the games industry already play a central role in the digitalisation and networking of the economy and society. Germany needs a strong games industry in order to also secure itself a top position in the digitalised economy.
Koelnmesse President Gerald Böse added, “The participation of the Chancellor is a sign of great appreciation for us. With her visit she honours the development of gamescom into one of the most successful and largest events in the German trade fair system.”
Last year’s gamescom drew 345,000 visitors. By comparison, E3 2017 drew 68,000 visitors, 15,000 of which were from the tickets available to the public.
The early gamescom 2017 exhibitors list released in March included Bandai Namco, CD Projekt, Deep Silver, Electronic Arts, Konami, Microsoft, Square Enix, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Entertainment, and others, but not Sony. According to Sony’s Jim Ryan, they’re looking at doing something in Europe this year, which will likely either be at gamescom or Paris Games Week.