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Computer games industry picks up again in Germany

Gaming freaks are currently pinning high hopes on what might be called the world's largest playground. The Gamescom fair for interactive entertainment in Cologne, Germany, has a record number of novelties on display.

The run on tickets for the Gamescom fair in Cologne continues unabated. Organizers are expecting more than 275,000 visitors from over 80 nations for the five-day show that starts on August 21.

For the first time in the fair's history, the floor space is fully booked. "We're expecting representatives from 635 companies from over 40 nations, presenting over 400 novelties," said the head of the Cologne Fairgrounds, Gerald Böse.

The gaming industry is hoping to boost revenues particularly through those numerous novelties. After all, there's a 20-percent rise in premiers year-on-year. And a pickup of business operations in the sector is badly needed.

In the first half of the current year, results were rather disappointing, with revenues generated in the German PC and video games markets dipping by 3.5 percent.

Gamers at the gamescom fair in Cologne +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

More and more Germans tend to believe they' can't live without computer games

Pundits have attributed the slump to a change of guard with respect to gaming consoles. As long as consumers wait for new hardware announced to hit markets soon, they simply buy less at the moment. In the fall and winter seasons later this year, three new consoles will be available to clients – and with them a multitude of new games. Most of the latter will be downward compatible which hasn't always been the case before.

Games sales to double

The digital entertainment marker can be broken down into two segments. On the one hand, there are the games for PCs, consoles and mobile devices. You can buy those games in a store or download them onto your tablet or smartphone for a fixed fee.

On the other hand, more and more people have taken to playing online games which are either completely free of charge or are financed via subscription fees.

"Most of all, we are banking on an upswing in games for PCs, consoles and mobile devices," said Maximilian Schenk, managing director of the German Trade Association of Interactive Entertainment Software (BIU).

A young German playing Counterstrike Photo: Patrick Pleul +++(c) dpa - Report+++

Germany's gaming industry is confident clients will like this year's novelties

In the fist half of 2013, 34.4 million games were sold in this segment. The novelties to hit the market later this year are expected to boost sales further to a total 76.5 million for the full year. And there's another reason why the sector looks to the future with confidence.

Germany IT lobby group Bitkom says some 25 million people in Germany are into computer gaming, with the BIU adding that an increasing number of them switch to games for tablets and smartphones.

Robust German market

In 2013, the German computer games industry aims to secure a 3.5-percent rise in turnover to total 1.9 billion euros ($2.53 billion).

"The domestic market is going from strength to strength," said Schenk. Meanwhile, Germany takes fifth position in the table of the world's nations with the highest revenues from the sale of computer games, drawing level with France.

The US is still the undisputed number one in the field. With a turnover of $14 billion annually, it looks next to impossible for runners-up Japan, South Korea and Britain to ever catch up.

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