Gamescom lands on gamers’ map

August 20, 2009

Two days ago, Sony finally announced it would cut the price for its flagship
PlayStation 3, reacting to slumping sales which have lagged
behind those of Nintendo’s Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

But industry experts, who had long expected such a move,
were more surprised about the location Sony chose for its
announcement than about the decision itself.

“The fact that Sony decided to announce the PS3 price cut at
Gamescom shows the importance they attach to it. This has been
one of the most important decisions they’ve made in the
segment,” said Ed Barton, analyst at London-based media research
company Screen Digest.

“We (Europe) have lived in the shadows of the United States
(E3) and Tokyo (Game Show) for years, but this is changing.”

Gamescom, which moved this year from the eastern German city of Leipzig to Cologne in the west, is Europe’s largest video game trade show, expected
to attract more than 200,000 visitors, and the third big
industry event behind E3 in Los Angeles and the Games Show in
Tokyo.

For the announcement of the decision even Sony Computer
Entertainment Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai showed up.

“This event clearly highlights how the gaming industry in
Europe has changed and really grown beyond recognition over the
past 15 years,” he said, speaking at Sony’s news conferenc prior
to Gamescom.

Recognition that is long overdue?

In fact, the video game market in the Europe, Middle East
and Africa region will likely grow to $25.3 billion in 2013 from
$18.1 billion in 2008, ahead of the Asia Pacific region,
according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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