With the end of SPIEL.digital, the time for an analysis began for the organizing Friedhelm Merz Verlag. Now, around three days after the online fair, the organizers draw a conclusion - and that is positive. "The first virtual edition of the world's largest consumer fair for parlor games, SPIEL, has exceeded all expectations," says the official announcement.


148.000 individual visitors visited the SPIEL.digital online game fair platform from October 22nd to 25th. For comparison: at the on-site trade fair in Essen, it was in last year over 200.000. That was a new record. With the first digital trade fair, they have now celebrated a debut that has been received with mixed feelings by fans.

SPIEL.digital: Official livestream viewed over a million times

However, the mixed mood does not change the fact that the organizers and actors did their best in this extraordinary situation. Thanks are due to the organizer and the committed people and you can now be happy that you are happy with the organizer.

Despite Corona, the international matchday took place this year, albeit in a completely different, unfamiliar format. The hustle and bustle of the trade fair took place in a purely digital manner, which you can call that with almost 150.000 users on the platform. More than 400 exhibitors from 41 nations were there with their online offers. The actors brought hundreds of thousands of people together to play in one act. Fans all over the world celebrated a board game festival not only at the trade fair in virtual space, but also in shops, board game cafés, at smaller events and in international streams.

On the SPIEL.digital platform, players found out about the new products of the season over four days or looked for a place at one of the virtual gaming tables to test the new products directly online. The fair, which remained open around the clock, continued until late at night.

According to Friedhelm Merz Verlag, a visitor described the atmosphere and internationality of the event as follows: “When you learn a new game at 2 o'clock at night with an American game explainer, a German student and an older board game enthusiast - probably of Italian or Spanish origin - and suddenly someone comes up and says: "We are the Brazilian live stream and you are now on the air", [...] that's all just great. "

It may be possible to play again at full tables in Essen next year. Photo: André Volkmann

It may be possible to play again at full tables in Essen next year. Photo: André Volkmann

How much was actually played at virtual gaming tables is shown, among other things, by the evaluation of Tabletopia, which was one of several gaming platforms offered at SPIEL.digital. Tabletopia reported a user increase of 100 percent during the four-day trade fair. The official trade fair livestreams offered in several world languages ​​were also well received: over a million views show that the content offered met the interests of some target groups.

The organizing Friedhelm Merz Verlag is “extremely satisfied” with this result. Digitally, too, it was possible to offer the board game a large international stage, to bring people together to play and to inform them about the novelties of the games year.

Although the online fair is over, fans can still browse the platform: www.game.digital remains accessible until the end of the year. And then comes the cautious outlook into the future: The next SPIEL International Game Days will take place from October 14th to 17th, 2021 in the halls of Messe Essen.


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