Munich Gaming, April 1-3, 2009

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In addition to Berlin (Quo Vadis) and Cologne (Games Com), Munich also has a big gaming conference. The Munich Gaming second-annual event combined a symposium and consumer event, and took place this month.

Despite the global financial crises, which is affecting the German games business, the event was seen as a success by both the visitors and the organizer. Visitor numbers were up from last year. The Munich Gaming event showed once again the importance of Munich as a European media and trade fair center.

The first two days of Munich gaming were exclusively for a business audience. The third day was open to anyone interested in the latest media trends, and of course, in gaming. The event location was the largest and most modern Cineplex in Munich’s city center. 1200 visitors attended 27 panels and listened to 135 speakers. In addition to providing lectures on topics such as “Communities and eGames” and “Child Welfare in Online Games,” Munich Gaming aims to bring together people of different ages and levels of knowledge. A LAN party for parents, an eSports tournament accessible to anyone, and the German Video Game Awards were parts of this three-day event. Despite being only two years old, Munich Gaming has become an important event for the Bavarian internet, media and gaming industries.

The evening before Munich Gaming, the German government gave out the first German Videogame Awards. Violent videogames have been blamed for several crimes committed in Germany over the last few years, and the Bavarian Secretary of the Interior took his inaugural address as a opportunity to speak out against video games. In his address, Joachim Herrmann (CSU) called upon the gaming industry to stop producing and selling violent and addictive games. In his eyes, violent “training software” must not be part of a successful company portfolio going forward.

The first day of the main Munich Gaming event was a bit clouded by the previous day’s speech, however, the audience was able to witness a completely different perspective on the gaming industry.

Prof. Dr. Wolf-Dieter Ring, President of the Bavarian State Media Authority (BLM) supported the gaming industry by criticizing Prof. Dr. Christian Pfeiffer, Germany’s most famous gaming industry opponent (especially violent games). His main point of criticism was the signing of the “Cologne Call” by Pfeiffer. This document is a petition to ban violent and potentially addicting games like World of Warcraft and Ego Shooters from the German market. In his address Wolf-Dieter Ring supported the concept of taking responsibility for one’s own media consumption, and encouraged parents to be media-savvy.

Overall, the event showed the generally positive attitude towards games of nearly all kinds, and the growing German understanding of this kind of entertainment.

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