Aug 23, 2013

Gamescom 2013: The Success of the Decline

I visited the Gamescom 2013 on Thursday. The biggest Gamescom ever in terms of visitors, you can say that for sure. The amount of traffic around the exhibition let collapse the roads. Cologne was not ready for this. Aggressiveness and the flair of resignation outside. And if you look more precisely, inside it was the same.


The gamer. Hardcore gamers, casual gamers, all fine and good. But inside the halls you can see another kind of visitors. It feels like a big part of the exhibition visitors have few or no interest in the games and the hardware. Sure, it never was a nerd-only event. But it totally changed now.
The available app with the "free goodies" alarm is a good example how the trend was set from the exhibitors. It's a fun & young place. And they were right when they gave a proud interview a few days ago, that there isn't a typical gamer any more. Unfortunately.


One scene was especially weird and descriptive for the sad way this event is going. A few people try to turn on the girls that are cleaning the floor. I have to admit they were very beautiful, but come on. The scene were full of people,especially men, that cared more about their hair and their gold & muscles, than about the games. The smell of cheap, and some expensive, after shave was flowing in the air. Really, I rather smell the nerd-sweat than seeing this Lackaffe around me. The gamer-scene are the minority now.

Having said this, a few things were also conspicuous. The goodies they gave out were much, much less than 2 years ago. One bored lady at Sony demands to make pushups before her feet to get a PS4 hat. It doesn't seem the official way, and I nearly asked her to do some pushups in front of me, because I make free advertisement for Sony. I didn't because the non-gamers showed up and try to impress with the amount of pushups. How pitiful.


The second thing on my mind, there were really only a few hostesses. Unlike 2 years ago, were you could see them everywhere, I barely saw one. The best were the Battlefield 4 Squad. But okay, better not call them hostesses. The equipment was either big, loud and with a ridiculous amount of screens, or very basic with nothing special. The big companies took over completely. A nice and ambient booth came from Crytek. You really felt game atmosphere right away. But other than that. Big screens were the only decoration for most of the booth' this year. Where were the enthusiastic programmers that talked to the gamers directly? Instead of some prominent face giving autographs for a game, I would rather like to see the real stars, that sit there for hours and hours, programming their fingers to bleed and making these things comes to live.


Many small gaming companies were not present. That lead to a weird picture in the MMO hall, or at least were it used to be. You barely could talk about such thing now, as Nintendo were in that hall, while in the back, dozens of anime shops and other shops unrelated to gaming were present. Even a commercial, once goth & heavy metal store, was there. The new dark hipsters temple. I don't know if a few gaming shirts qualified them to be part of the gamer-scene. Another part that attract people that really do not belong to gaming.


To do a resumee, I have to say the real gaming nerds, geeks and fans are in the minority now at the Gamescom. Sure people there enjoy the games, fun and the way to show themselves off. But it's not the Gamescom I liked in the beginning. The Gamescom is dead! At least for real gamers. Next year, I will stay at home, playing some new games and having fun.

There is not the slightest doubt, that the Gamescom is a huge success. I would wonder if this isn't the Gamescom with the most visitors and commercial success. But it's not a success for the gaming-nerds. They have just been degraded to be 2nd or 3rd in line. The hipsters noobs have taken over.

Some photos and videos from the Gamescom 2013: Album Gamescom 2013