Off, off, - the game is over! Germany is not world champion, but with gamescom 2016 in Cologne, it has at least gained a lot of gaming experience. If you look at what the Cologne computer fair has to offer, gamescom can be described as one of the most complete fair offers currently being held in Germany. Whether young or old, nerd or casual gamer, shooter fan or retro gamer: gamescom has the right range of games for every visitor. On Sunday the fair opened its gates for the last time for this year. Time to draw a conclusion about gamescom 2016.

gamescom 2016: a successful year

Gamescom 2016 was a successful event not only for the visitors, but also for the organizers and exhibitors. Around 345.000 visitors from over 90 countries came to Cologne on the gamescom weekend to experience the latest developments in the gaming industry up close. If you include the number of visitors to the gamescom City Festival and the other supporting events, a total of over 500.000 fans visited the cathedral city on the Rhine. 877 national and international companies presented their portfolios and surprised trade visitors, fans and press representatives with innovative and creative concepts. The virtual world in particular was one of the main themes at this year's exhibition for video and computer games. Whether limited to mainly gaming as with the Playstation VR, as an experience offer at the Samsung exhibitor stand or as an innovative overall package as with the developers of PowerClaw: In 2016, nobody could escape the charms of virtual technologies. At gamescom, the signs point to growth. Games, discussions and celebrations took place on more than 193.000 square meters. The Chairman of the Management Board of Koelnmesse GmbH, Gerald Böse, also drew a positive conclusion in the final report on gamescom 2016: “Gamescom is the most important business platform for the European computer and video game industry. The growth of 9 percent and the renewed increase in internationality on the exhibitor side impressively confirmed this leading position. With 345.000 visitors from 97 countries at the exhibition center and over 500.000 guests during the gamescom week, we made the topic of computer and video games tangible in the exhibition halls and in the city.”

We can continue to be just as successful next year, albeit with a small change in the course of the event. Next year gamescom will take place from Tuesday, August 22nd to Saturday, August 26th, 2017. The fair wins a working day at the expense of gamescom Sunday. 

No gamescom without cosplay

With players from all over the world, numerous costumed role-playing fans streamed into the halls at the Cologne exhibition center again this year. Cosplay is the name of this phenomenon, which is now part of computer and game fairs like the games themselves. Cosplayers not only slip into their favorite characters from different areas of the media world, but also demonstrate craftsmanship and creativity as well as a penchant for attention to detail in the production of their costumes that you simply have to bring along as a true fan of the Japanese disguise trend. The aim is to create an image of your favorite character that is as true to the original as possible - often not just on the outside.

Cosplay is a trend that spilled over to Europe as early as the 90s. At first, the costume fans were hesitant; Since computer and game fairs have become a mass phenomenon, thousands of cosplayers mingle with the visitors with the opening of a media fair, giving a fair a unique image. The hallmark of cosplay are the elaborately designed costumes, which fans model on the originals down to the smallest detail.

In addition to public appearances at trade fairs, cosplay competitions are an integral part of the scene. The cosplay phenomenon has now reached the social engagement sector. Not just clubs like the Heroes for Hearts eV, get involved on a voluntary basis for charitable purposes, but also role players who are not committed to social engagement through an organization, contribute with their appearances for a better togetherness if they are popular. In this respect, it is hardly surprising that cosplay is not only practiced at game fairs.

Back to the sixties

2k Games has outdone itself in presenting the upcoming blockbuster game Mafia III. This is also shown by the award for the “Best Stand Concept” as part of the gamescom Awards 2016. Instead of equipping a few stairs with game stations, 2k Games has moved an entire XNUMXs-style cinema into the exhibition hall. There was current and well-known trailer material for the game to see Mafia III*, which will be released on October 07, 2016 for PC, Xbox One and PS4. Like its predecessors, Mafia 3 relies on a mixture of open-world gameplay and an action game with a dense story, which is told in excellently presented cutscenes. For the first time we saw real gameplay from Mafia III, which is simply referred to as breathtakingly good can describe. 

Pictures from gamescom 2016
Presentation on Mafia III.

Missions can be solved in different ways: either with the crowbar tactic and a handful of grenades, or in a subtle way with stealth and silenced weapons. Incidentally, a knife that Lincoln Clay always has at hand to take out opponents quietly but effectively and bloody should not be missing on missions. Mafia III sets new standards in terms of brutality, which is often used as a game element, but never exaggerated. Crimes are as they are and Mafia III does nothing to turn bloody Mafia wars into anything else. That is good for the game, because Mafia III already captivated us while watching the gameplay presentation. From October onwards, anyone can visit the 1968 New Bordeaux. Anticipation!  

Trend topic esports: SPort or not?

There was also discussion at gamescom 2016. About a lot, but above all about one topic: eSports. The question of whether or not eSport can now count itself among the sports has not yet been finally clarified. Fans of the scene agree that while critics attribute the competitive game events to tournament character, they consciously avoid the term sport. Neither critics nor fans can dismiss the rapid development of the eSports sector. 

The enthusiasm for mass events such as "The International" or "ESL One" is unbroken and will continue to grow in the years to come. Last but not least, this is also due to the game manufacturers, who are increasingly equipping their titles with eSports-capable content and thus getting on the fast-paced hype train. After all, this development can only do the gaming sector good. And what about sports?

Renowned scientists have racked their brains over how best to define the term sport. The simple argument that one can only speak of sport when participants actually move can be brushed off the table relatively quickly with the help of the recognized sport of chess. On the other hand, tournament events alone are not enough to bring eSports into the definition of a sport. Since official classifications of sports do not exist, one tries to make use of the currently widespread categories in order to classify e-sports in a meaningful way. There would then be enough starting points: Use of sports equipment, organization as a team sport, type of implementation, even the differentiation into an amateur-professional area is now possible in eSports. The really important question is, who cares about this discussion anyway? Marketing departments call their hobby what they want anyway, fans just want to watch games or watch their idols spellbound, non-gamers don't know much about the term eSports anyway and the eternal critics need a public platform to get rid of their reviews. How you classify eSports is irrelevant as long as exciting competitions and fun in the game are in the foreground. By the way, traditional sports and eSports have long had one thing in common: numerous scandals.

In the end, everyone is happy with the status quo: We just want to play.