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Preliminary report on gamescom 2009: Cologne is ready for the premiere of the new leading European trade fair

- Over 300 exhibitors from 25 countries registered to date

- The industry's leading trade fair is heading for an international record

- First hall plans from the business and entertainment areas

- Indoor and outdoor programme highlights

- "gamesCompetence" youth protection programme introduced

- Major "run" on the business area, additional hall levels opened

- Festival in the city promises "major gaming"

In less than two months, gamescom - Europe's new leading trade fair for interactive entertainment - will be celebrating its premiere. And according to statements made today by Oliver P. Kuhrt, Managing Director of Koelnmesse GmbH and Olaf Wolters, Managing Director of the German Federal Association of Interactive Entertainment Software (BIU), during the European Trade Press Conference 2009 in the Koelnmesse Trade Fair Tower, Cologne's trade fair centre and the games industry are ideally prepared for it. To date, gamescom has already received registrations from more than 300 exhibitors from 25 countries, with over 40 percent of them coming from abroad. Participants and exhibitors from Great Britain, France, the United States and Canada, among other places, are quickly making gamescom a leading international event. On a total of 120,000 square metres of exhibition space, all key players in the industry ranging from developers and publishers to retail partners will come together from 19 to 23 August in Halls 4 - 9 at Koelnmesse. Initial glimpses into the planning of the halls, the development of the festival in the city as well as the major topic of youth protection entitled "gamesCompetence" were presented to international media representatives.

The premiere is still two months away, but Koelnmesse can already report initial success. The industry's new leading trade fair will quickly be able to shine with a high degree of internationality. Of those exhibitors that have registered so far, 120 of them come from 25 different countries. gamescom is thus already ensuring the internationalisation planned by the industry. At currently six pavilions, games companies from Canada, France, Italy, Scandinavia, Taiwan and Thailand will welcome gamescom visitors in August. Oliver P. Kuhrt: "These figures confirm that Cologne's trade fair centre, with its international network, its infrastructure and its connection to international transportation routes, is the ideal location for the games industry's leading trade fair."

Layout planning in the entertainment area

According to the current hall layout plan, Activision Blizzard, Capcom, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Square Enix and Take Two, among others, will be displaying their innovations in Hall 6 at gamescom. Bigben Interactive, Hama, Koch Media, Konami, Sony and Ubisoft, among others, will await fans of interactive entertainment in Hall 7. In Hall 8, located near the North entrance, Nintendo, Namco Bandai, Sega, Warner Brothers, dtp entertainment, Tivola, rondomedia and many other companies will be presenting their innovations. In Hall 9, alongside Turtle Entertainment with companies such as GOA, NcSoft and Funcom, the emphasis will be on the dynamic segment of online games and core gaming. "Thanks to this layout plan, every visitor from the games community will find the right emphasis - from casual to core - in every entertainment hall," says Oliver P. Kuhrt. On a total of 80,000 square metres in the entertainment area, companies will present the entire thematic diversity of the interactive entertainment world. From info- and edutainment, lifestyle and sports to action and adventure, in Cologne fans and families will find the entire spectrum of genres to suit them. In order to allow visitors to gamescom to have as much active playing time as possible, thematically focused gaming zones (Lifestyle, Sport, Action&Adventure, E-Sport) are available in addition to the exhibitors' stands as an additional event offering. This is where the virtual game world and real, interactive entertainment come together.

Premieres and indoor and outdoor programme highlights

From Wednesday (day for trade visitors and the media) through Sunday, not only the world and European premiers of the latest games await gaming fans. The programme offerings away from the screens also guarantee the best entertainment. For example, starting on Thursday, the best case modders will compete in the German Case Modding Championship at gamescom. Thousand of fans of the creative art of modifying computer cases are expected to turn up to see around 60 creative modders present their own PC constructions to the public and, among other things, let their imagination run wild during the "24-hour Alteration" taking place live in the halls. While gamescom visitors select Germany's most spectacular creation, impatient cosplayers will already be waiting for their performance. During gamescom, a cosplay world record attempt, officially registered with Guinness World Records, awaits visitors and members of the media. In cosplay (short for "costume play"), each participant uses costume and behaviour to present a character as true to the original as possible, with no limits on imagination and creativity. Around 400 cosplayers are expected to turn out for the record. However, "no costumes allowed" applies at the Job&Career Centre. Anyone looking to start a career or transition into the games industry is in just the right place in Hall 8. Here companies will present themselves and interact with potential applicants. In the meantime, daring motorcyclists will be chasing each other around on their bullets on a freestyle course. Additional trend sport and show highlights as well as exhibitor activities guarantee adrenaline and the best entertainment for fans and families from Thursday through Sunday on the fairgrounds. Whoever needs a break from all the excitement in the halls and on the fairgrounds can relax at our very own gamescom beach to get ready for the next main topic at the trade fair.

gamesCompetence: youth protection is a top priority in Cologne

When it comes to interactive media and how best to deal with them, young people and parents as well as educators and politicians find themselves in a complex area of tension. As part of gamescom, "gamesCompetence" brings together a variety of contents that focus on youth protection, imparting media competence, media education, properly dealing with computer games as well as further education offers, including those from governmental agencies. The line-up ranges from practical applications for parents and educators to a political summit talk.

The concept is divided into three areas:

1. Contents by young people for young people

2. Media Competence and Media Education

3. Further education, conventions and seminars

The starting point of the first area is a nearly 600 square metre large pavilion in Hall 8 at which primarily associations and organisations will introduce themselves. Amongst other things, project stands, workshops, discussion forums and gaming events will take place here on a stage in order to make the introduction into the gaming world understandable for parents and educators and to give practical tips on properly dealing with interactive media.

Alongside this, Media Competence and Media Education aregeared towards the target group of educators and the media. Universities that focus on this area discuss controversial aspects of interactive entertainment with visitors at the pavilion.

The third area deals with workshops and seminars being planned by state authorities, which have been conceived as official further education events especially for teachers. Here the highlight is the "gamescom congress" organised by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which is free of charge and freely accessible.*

"gamescom congress" by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia

The state government of NRW is organising the "gamescom congress 2009" at Koelnmesse's Congress Centre North together with the city of Cologne, the Media Authority of NRW (Landesanstalt f?r Medien NRW - LfM) and the German Federal Association of Interactive Entertainment Software (BIU). Interesting topics from the categories of "Politics", "Visions", "Positions" and "Practice" await young people, parents, educators and industry representatives. A political summit talk as well as the keynote speeches and panels are devoted to, among other things, the following main points: Games between Economic Significance and Social Responsibility, Perspectives of a Gaming Society, Economic and Technological Perspectives of the Games Industry as well as the topic area of Serious Games. The conference programme is rounded off by exhibitions, showcases and interviews with professional gamers, guided tours and a "Parent LAN", during which parents can enter into the gaming worlds of their children with guidance from experts, thus allowing them to gain helpful insight. *All contents of "gamesCompetence" with the highlight of the "gamescom congress" can be found on the www.gamescom.de homepage as soon as they are available.

The run on the business area continues - two additional hall levels opened

The gamescom concept includes two clearly separated areas, from which the business concept is designed as an exclusive trade, contact and communication platform. While events and entertainment are in demand in the entertainment area, the industry and its retail partners come together in Halls 4 and 5 at Koelnmesse. Due to the enormous interest in the business area, levels 4.1. and 5.1 have also been opened as exhibition space in addition to levels 4.2 and 5.2. In order to conduct business at gamescom as efficiently as possible, trade visitors and retail partners can easily book their trip to Cologne on the Internet in advance.

With almost 40 services, Koelnmesse Services, a subsidiary of Koelnmesse, is an international leader and offers extensive support. Exhibitors and visitors are invited to book their travel and accommodation at www.koelnmesse.de by clicking on "Services" and can choose from rooms at more than 70 partner hotels ( www.hotelzimmerbuchung.com). The booking of private rooms is also part of the service offer.

While in Cologne, trade visitors and retail partners can drive their cars directly onto the roofs of Halls 4 and 5, park there and - almost like a "drive in" - enter the business area via a separate entrance. Short distances, inviting lounge and catering areas, sufficient hotel capacities as well as an attractive event program thus offer business customers all amenities. With the new "gamescom card", which became available in the online shop a few days ago, trade visitors and retail partners also have an additional day of free admission as well as numerous benefits at the fairgrounds. In order to effectively pursue their business, gamescom hascome up with numerous arrival and accommodation services. The trade fair begins on 19 August with an exclusive day for trade visitors and the media, during which the business and entertainment areas will be open exclusively for trade visitors and media representatives. From 20 - 22 August, the business area will then continue to be available to the industry and retail partners as an exclusive area. In the evening, once negotiations between retailers and industry visitors have been successfully concluded, music and entertainment at the gamescom festival await trade visitors, retail partners and the entire games community to finish off the day after the trade fair has closed.

Additional highlights at the gamescom festival in the city centre

With the innovative festival concept, gamescom takes the games into the city, addressing the target group of casual gamers in an entertaining way after the trade fair has closed. In the city centre of Cologne, stages to provide entertainment with liveacts and game modules will be set up, which the festival audience can use to experience gaming. The festival will open on 19 August by no less than the European top music act DIE TOTEN HOSEN, who will rock the stage together with Ska-P, the Ohrbooten and other special guests.

After opening on Wednesday, the city festival in central parts of Cologne's city centre will offer a comprehensive games and entertainment programme from Friday through Sunday. On the one hand, visitors can be entertained here with a stage programme consisting of music, gaming and an award presentation. But it is also possible to actively grab a controller and zap away, both at the individual game stations as well as part of "Backyard Battles" - gaming fun in an oversized space. At three different public squares in Cologne, buildings will serve as screens. Using video projectors, various games will be played in a large format on the fa?ades of buildings.

The festival is rounded off by such additional spectacular events as the dance event UNITEDRESPECT in the Lanxess Arena. Up to 12,000 visitors are expected in the direct vicinity of the fairgrounds in Cologne-Deutz on Saturday, 22 August, when, among others, four of the world's best DJs - David Guetta, DJ Hell, Axwell and Lexi&K-Paul - will get everyone on their feet with a one-of-a-kind light and sound installation at UNITEDRESPECT. Considering the abundance of extraordinary events on the fairgrounds and in the city, Oliver P. Kuhrt summarises: "From 19 - 23 August 2009, Cologne's entire trade fair centre offers a dazzling display of games and entertainment highlights for gaming fans from Germany, Europe and the entire world, completely in line with the gamescom motto - Let's celebrate the games."

Arrival, accommodation and services

People looking for somewhere fun to stay after the trade show and festival will be welcomed at the gamescomCamp in Cologne's Youth Park, which opens to coincide with the trade fair from 19 to 23 August 2009.

The camping paradise, right on the banks of the Rhine, offers a chill-out and beach club atmosphere and an extensive programme of sports and leisure activities, spanning the spectrum from football, basketball and mini-golf all the way to action and adventure on the climbing course next door. After all the fun, you can then relax by the campfire and enjoy the city skyline on the banks of the river. But the best thing about the campsite is that it is just a ten-minute walk from the fairgrounds.

Thanks to good infrastructure and cooperation with partners, numerous offers are available for conveniently travelling to Cologne. Thanks to the Cologne/Bonn Airport, the trade fair centre on the Rhine offers anyone flying to Cologne from another European country 55 airlines that connect Cologne to nearly 180 destinations in more than 45 countries on four continents - from New York to Taipei. Coming by train from anywhere within Germany costs as little as 89 euros (2nd class)/139 euros (1st class) round-trip. Getting off at the K?ln Messe/Deutz station lands you right in the thick of the trade show. The K?ln Messe/Deutz train station is situated right next to the fairground's South entrance. gamescom participants can also use their admission ticket and/or pass to travel free of charge within the networks of the local transport operators VRS and VRR. With a total of ten motorways intersecting near Cologne, it couldn't be easier to travel to gamescom by bus or car. Connect-gamescom offers bus service throughout Germany, which brings gamecom visitors to Cologne and back from over 30 cities. Carpooling options for drivers and passengers can also be found on pendla.de. In partnership with www.couchsurfing.com, players and fans of interactive entertainment from all over the world can organise their own sleeping arrangements and make new contacts in Cologne and the surrounding area.

Press tips

You can find further information on gamescom - the trade fair and event highlight for the international interactive entertainment industry - at www.gamescom-cologne.com. The latest news is also available as an RSS feed in the press area.

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