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Men sitting at computer consoles
Settling in for some serious game playingImage: AP

Gaming Fever

compiled from wire sources (sh)
August 22, 2007

Computer and video games fans from all over the world come to Leipzig to check out the latest companies have to offer in electronic games and infotainment. Organizers expect record crowds.


The Leipzig Games Convention, first held in 2002, today rivals the Tokyo Game Show as the biggest game event in the world. It has already become Europe's largest show for interactive entertainment and is expecting to attract more than 200,000 visitors over its four-day run. More than 500 exhibitors from 35 countries have made the trip to the eastern German city.

As the organizers point out, "playing is quite simply part of human nature – it is only the toys that have changed over the course of time." Visitors to the GC get the chance to see and try out the latest in video games and infotainment as well as check out the newest trends in educational software.

Latest developments

This year leading German mobile phone content provider Jamba is participating for the first time with a display of the latest trends in games specifically designed for mobile phones.

"We are looking forward tremendously to our first appearance at the GC," said Jamba business manager Markus Berger-de León. "As it's one of the biggest fairs of its kind, it's an event we can't miss."

The show will mark the European debut of the elite version of Microsoft's Xbox 360. The designer edition in black lacquer goes on sale in Germany on Friday.

Chipmaker Intel unveiled its new high-performance central processing chip in Leipzig on Wednesday, which is aimed at gaming and higher highly demanding operations. It contains powerful graphics processors and memory capabilities that are required for today's sophisticated games.

Sales exploding

In its latest "Global Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2007-2011" professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) predicts that sales in Germany for games for consoles, PCs, mobile phones and other portable devices will grow by 9.7 percent annually over the next four years to reach $3.4 billion (2.5 billion euros).

Karima Adebibe, current model for Lara Croft
Lara Croft model Karima Adebibe is at the GCImage: AP

"The games industry in Germany is profiting from the spread of high speed DSL Internet access which makes it possible to play technically demanding online games," explained Frank Mackenroth, head of Entertainment and Media at PwC Germany. However, he adds that sales are growing even faster in other European countries, especially in the UK. One reason is the more stringent laws governing sales of computer games to minors in Germany.

The speed at which the computer games sector is developing worldwide is breathtaking. Advances in sound and graphics cards make the simple shoot-'em-up games of the early days seem light years away. In Germany the number of game fans playing on notebooks has leapt from 5 percent in 2005 to 21 percent this year.

Crossing boundaries

Among the highlights of the 2007 GC is the performance by Martin Leung of extracts from well-known video game music, including "Zelda," "Halo" and "Final Fantasy." Leung, who's also known as "the video game pianist" is one of the first musicians worldwide to achieve international fame with his renditions of video-game music.

His breakthrough came in 2004 with an internet video showing him playing the title music from "Super Mario World" blindfolded.

Germany's oldest registered online game player, 85-year-old Walter Lutzky, is also in Leipzig. He's been playing his favorite card game, "Skat," online since 2004 and is looking for a new console.

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