The world’s largest gaming expo is in full swing today. Until Saturday, fans and gaming enthusiasts have the chance to connect with developers and influencers and try out their favorite games.
Here’s the second edition of the gamescom daily news.
Games are for everyone
In a keynote during the gamescom congress, the accompanying conference on the potential of computer and video games for society and the economy, Heiko Klinge – the editor-in-chief of German magazines GameStar & GamePro – spoke about the term “gamer” and why it is too narrow to describe the extremely different usage behavior of people who play games. There isn’t one particular type of person playing video games, and the cliché that games are a hobby just for young boys no longer holds up. A study by the German Games Industry Association game e.V. shows that the average age of gamers in Germany is 36 years. And the group of “Silver Gamers” – gamers over the age of 50 – is growing particularly quickly.
Especially with the rise of smartphones, the gaming demographic has dramatically shifted. While AAA studios often still cater to the male 18-25 demographic, the truth is that about half of the gaming audience is made up of women. And it’s not just smartphones: A Pew survey conducted in 2015 even found that more women owned consoles than men. While the gaming industry still struggles with issues of female representation and sexism, developing games that appeal to a broader audience can provide a huge opportunity for studios.
Support for Indie Games
This year, gamescom has introduced the “gamescom Indie Village”, an exhibition area that gives a stage to smaller, independent game studios. Their business is a world away from the huge gaming studios that have multi-million-dollar budgets. Gamers appreciate the indie developer community with their great creativity, the variety of games, their complex themes, and the clear signature of the developer.
The Indie Village at gamescom is an extension of the Indie Arena Booth that started in 2013 as a project of independent game developers who put together the money for a booth. Now, the space has grown to 1500 sqm where small teams are able to show their games for a fraction of the cost of a regular stand. From the numerous applicants for a spot, the best teams are selected for participation each year.
Looking for award winning games to play?
Every year, the prestigious gamescom awards honor the best games in various categories.As part of the Opening Night Live event on Monday, organizers announced the first winners of the 2019 awards, selected by a jury. The winners in the audience categories will be determined during the fair and published on Saturday.
The clear winner of the jury round is Sony Interactive: out of seven nominations, three prizes went to Sony (Best Family Game: “Concrete Genie”, Best Sony PlayStation 4 Game: “Dreams”, Most Original Game: “Dreams”). With “Desperados 3” (Mimimi Games) and “Battle Chasers: Night War” (HandyGames) two games from German production companies were also honored with a gamescom award.
A more immersive experience with Ray Tracing
Nvidia kicked off gamescom with the news that nine upcoming titles will support real-time ray tracing in at least some capacity. Implementation will vary but support from major publishers adds to the slowly growing number of games supporting the feature.
Ray tracing is an advanced and lifelike way of rendering light and shadows in a game. It allows developers to create a much more immersive and visually striking experiences, something highly appreciated by players.
Three of the most notable titles Nvidia announced today are “Minecraft” the next entry in the “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” series, and the upcoming “Cyberpunk 2077”. Some mods – modifications or add-ons created not by the developers but by the community – have already made ray tracing available in Minecraft, but Nvidia said that it has worked with Mojang and Microsoft to bring now official support for ray tracing to the incredibly popular game.
More notable announcements in the hardware segment
Other exciting news from the gaming hardware industry include Alienware with an eye-catching Aurora design overhaul. Two new Xbox wireless controller special editions are also available in new colors: Night Ops Camo and Sport Blue; and Western Digital has added five new high-performance external drives specifically aimed at gamers to the WD Black line-up.
Austrian tech start-up, Cybershoes, showed off its retail-ready VR foot controllers. In addition to walking, running and turning around in 360 degrees, now a new “jumping” feature is supported, so users can enjoy even more freedom of movement in virtual environments.
Samsung has brought a trio of monitors to Gamescom 2019, with a space-saving design that allows users to push the monitor flat against the wall, and Asus introduced a 17-inch portable gaming monitor, the first with a 240Hz display – an ideal companion for serious gaming while away from home.
Read our first gamescom daily news digest here.