• New survey presented on current gamescom trends
• ‘Heroes in New Dimensions’ is the theme of gamescom 2016
• gamescom takes place from 17 to 21 August in Cologne
Berlin, 10 August 2016 – The current trends at gamescom –virtual reality, e-sports, gamers as creators and the like – demonstrate the importance of computer and video games in the digitisation of society and commerce, stated Dr Maximilian Schenk, Managing Director of the BIU, the German Games Industry Association, at a joint press conference with Koelnmesse in the run-up to this year’s gamescom. The BIU is the sponsor of gamescom. The results of a new survey on the latest gamescom trends were presented at this press conference, including gamers’ intense curiosity about the new technology of virtual reality; consumers were already extremely excited about the first devices shortly after their release. The survey also indicated strong interest in e-sports, which are already outpacing many conventional sports in terms of spectator enthusiasm, as well as in new media formats such as Let’s Plays, which are watched by audiences of millions. The motto of this year’s gamescom, ‘Heroes in New Dimensions’, reflects these trends in the computer and video games industry, as well as gamescom’s growth into the leading trade fair for digital entertainment. This year’s gamescom will be held in Cologne from 17 to 21 August; it is open to the general public from 18 August onwards.
‘gamescom has grown from a video game trade fair to a 360-degree digital entertainment event. The latest gamescom trends are evidence of this,’ says BIU Managing Director Dr Maximilian Schenk in summary. ‘Virtual reality is the next major platform for the digital age; in addition to the entertainment industry, it will have a tremendous impact on Industry 4.0 as a whole, as well as on many other industries. E-sports already serve as a glowing example for traditional sports in terms of the international and digital organisation of leagues and tournaments in a globally networked world. And the role of players in computer and video games is increasingly changing: once mere consumers, they are now becoming creators. In that sense, games are taking a pioneering role compared to other media.’
Approximately one in five internet users in Germany can imagine buying a virtual reality headset
One finding of the study on current trends in the computer and video games industry is a strong interest in virtual reality. The first virtual reality headsets hit the market just a few weeks ago, but approximately half of internet users in Germany (46 per cent) are already familiar with these models, and approximately one third (32 per cent) want to use them for games in future – that’s about 21 million people in Germany. Around one fifth of internet users in Germany (21 per cent) can already imagine buying one of these virtual reality headsets. Computer and video games aren’t the only reason why the devices are attractive: four out of ten internet users (40 per cent) would like to use virtual reality to view future travel destinations from their homes. One out of three (36 per cent) wants to use the headsets to watch movies and TV series, as well as to view 3D photos and special panorama shots (34 per cent) and to take virtual tours of exhibits and museums (33 per cent). Online shopping (23 per cent), events such as concerts (23 per cent) and sporting events like football matches (19 per cent) are also popular potential applications for virtual reality headsets.
‘Virtual reality is a new, innovative technology that allows users to feel like they’re right in the thick of things in an entirely new way. It creates a new platform for games and movies as well as for new applications in the areas of tourism, e-commerce, events, and more,’ says Schenk, explaining the potential of virtual reality.
Almost 11 million people watch e-sports events in Germany
These days, e-sports tournaments fill entire stadiums, and millions of people around the world watch the events on internet livestreams. This strong growth is also taking place in Germany: one fourth of all German internet users (24 per cent) are familiar with e-sports, and among 16- to 24-year-olds, that figure rises to half (50 per cent). Almost one sixth of internet users (16 per cent, or nearly 11 million people in Germany) have already watched e-sports matches. Young people have shown particular interest here, as well: of the 16- to 24-year-old internet users surveyed, approximately four out of ten have already watched these sorts of events. In that sense, e-sports have already far outpaced many traditional types of sports in Germany in terms of spectator enthusiasm, and thanks to its young, digitally savvy target group – who are very difficult to reach via traditional media – it is becoming an important advertising platform for companies in all industries.
‘Within just a few years, e-sports have grown into a new, digital form of sport that produces its own stars and attracts millions of viewers worldwide. E-sports have already far outstripped the popularity of traditional sports among the young, digitally savvy generation,’ says Schenk, summarising the survey results.
Millions of Germans watch Let’s Plays
Computer and video games are the only medium where the user is such an integral part of the experience. The best example here is Let’s Play videos, where one or more gamers record themselves playing a game and share the video on social media. Almost one fifth of German internet users (18 per cent) are familiar with the term ‘Let’s Play’ and understands what it means. Just under 15 million people in Germany (22 per cent of internet users) have already watched these types of videos or livestreams online. Among 16- to 24-year-olds, that figure rises to nearly two thirds (63 per cent). Almost 3.5 million people (8 per cent of German internet users) have recorded their own gaming experiences and shared them with others on platforms like YouTube or Twitch; an additional 19 per cent can imagine doing so in the future.
‘Gamers have long been more than just consumers. As participants in beta tests and crowdfunding campaigns, gamers are already involved in the creation process for the latest games at an early stage. Gamers who are ‘modders’ modify their favourite titles to create new playing experiences. The most successful Let’s Players and e-sports athletes are evidence of the central role that gamers play here; many of them have achieved star status among young people to an extent that was only possible for pop and movie stars just a few years ago,’ says Schenk, summarising the special role that gamers play.
About the survey
Unless otherwise indicated, all data was provided by YouGov Deutschland GmbH. 2,023 people participated in the survey between 11 July 2016 and 13 July 2016. The results were weighted and are representative.
About gamescom 2016
gamescom opens for all interested trade visitors on 17 August and for the general public on 18 August. In 2015, 806 companies from 45 countries presented their latest products. A total of 345,000 visitors from 96 countries used gamescom last year as an entertainment and business platform. This makes gamescom the largest global computer and video games event as well as Europe’s largest business platform for the games industry. With the business area, the entertainment area, the GDC Europe, the gamescom congress and the gamescom city festival, gamescom offers tailored platforms for all audiences.
Information on Koelnmesse
The Cologne trade fair company has a more than 90-year-old history. In May 1924, the success story of Cologne fairs began with the opening of the first event on the grounds in Cologne-Deutz. During the economic boom of the post-war era, the ‘Rheinische Messe’ rose to a global marketplace. This was achieved through good service, the strong commitment to trade fairs and through a dense network of international contacts. Back then as well as today, Koelnmesse is an important driver for global industries as well as for the regional economy. More information can be found here: www.koelnmesse.de
About the BIU
The BIU, the German Games Industry Association, is the association of the German computer and video games industry. Its 26 members are developers, publishers and suppliers of digital games. Together, they represent over 85 per cent of the German market. The BIU is, for example, the organiser of gamescom. As an expert partner for media and for political and social institutions, the BIU answers all questions on the topic of digital games.
BIU – Bundesverband Interaktive Unterhaltungssoftware e. V.
Tel.: +49 (0)30 2408779-20
Fax: +49 (0)30 2408779-11