The gamescom congress on 21 August 2019 presented a successful balance of enthusiastic visitors and heavy-weight speakers, with over 900 visitors attending. Every one of the 103 speakers demonstrated the diverse potential of computer games, reinforcing the gamescom congress’ position as Europe’s leading think-tank for games and digitalization. Over the 48 programme items, the world of computer games was illuminated from all angles.
The emphasis was on topics that move the digital generation forward. Intense discussion was particularly enjoyed in the “Debatt(l)e Royale” political forum. The panel was attended by the federal directors and general secretaries of the German political parties CDU, SPD, FDP, Die Linke and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen. The gamescom congress takes place annually as part of gamescom and was sold out again this year.
The gamescom congress was opened on Wednesday, 21 August 2019 by Nathanael Liminski (Head of the NRW State Chancellery), Henriette Reker (Lord Mayor of the City of Cologne), Gerald Böse (CEO Koelnmesse GmbH) and Felix Falk (Managing Director game – the association of the German games industry). Immediately afterwards, the presenters Melek Balgün (journalist and eSports expert) and Peter Smits (YouTuber, PietSmiet) welcomed political celebrities Paul Ziemiak (CDU), Lars Klingbeil (SPD), Linda Teuteberg (FDP), Jörg Schindler (Die Linke) and Michael Kellner (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) to the political talk “Debatt(l)e Royale”.
In the subsequent keynotes, talks, panel discussions and workshops, the speakers demonstrated the impetus that digital games, games technologies and game developers provide. The programme of the new “Public Stage” was streamed live on the internet with Axel Voss MEP, discussing network policy and political communication in the age of YouTube. In the “Quartet of Game Culture”, Lena Falkenhagen and Nina Kiel talked about historically inspired game settings that are fictitious at the same time. Lively discussions also took place in the other lecture halls where the use of games in schools and the important topics of cultural integration and inclusion were discussed. Prof. Dr. Linda Breitlauch (Trier University of Applied Sciences), Aiman Mazyek (Central Council of Muslims in Germany), Kathrin Trattner (University of Graz) and Olaf Zimmermann (German Cultural Council) discussed the integrative power of computer games, whilst Mark Barlet of Able Gamers demonstrated how inclusive games can be for people with disabilities.
“In 2019, the gamescom congress has once again underlined its relevance. Here, the topics that keep digital Germany busy, are being discussed. From the question of how we want to discuss politics on the Internet in the future, to a future-proof protection of minors in digital media, to inclusion and diversity in games and digital education, a comprehensive programme with exciting participants from all over the world had been provided”, says Felix Falk, Managing Director of game – association of the German games industry. “One of our highlights is the ‘Debatt(l)e Royale’, which with a high-ranking cast, was once again unique.”
“The gamescom congress 2019 demonstrates undeniably that there is much more to games than just entertainment. Digital games promote digitalization and support learning. Games are also an important cultural asset and bring people together worldwide. The congress attracted guests from all industries; from science, politics, and education. This diversity is unique,” emphasises Gerald Böse, CEO of Koelnmesse GmbH.