Felix Falk, managing director of game and an award-winning saxophonist, has not only made it as a musician but also enjoys a good reputation in the computer and video games industry. We talk to him about why games are important for society, politics and the economy. And why the most important games fair takes place in Cologne.
10 years and 300 jazz concerts in places as far afield as Croatia, Kaliningrad and South Korea. How does a passionate musician like yourself become the managing director of game?
At first glance they don’t seem to fit, do they? I started the jazz funk band “Mo‘ Blow” while doing my degree in Music and Political Science. While working as a musician I also managed the office for the Head of the Committee for Culture and Media in the German Bundestag. From 2009 to 2016, I was managing director of the German Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (USK). Looking at it this way, I was active in the games industry long before I became managing director of game. And no matter whether you are a saxophonist in a band or the managing director of the games association, you require a skill set that takes in creativity, the ability to communicate and to balance positions, improvisation and persuasion.
The image of games and gamers has changed. The gamescom in Cologne was opened by the German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel in 2017. Why are computer games important for society and the economy?
Computer and video games represent an unprecedented success story. Once dismissed as a childish waste of time, they have become an important cultural asset, a driver to the economy and to innovation. Angela Merkel’s opening of gamescom last year once again underscored this development very impressively. Currently, about every second person in Germany is a gamer. And anyone who thinks that gaming is only for the younger generation is mistaken. After all, the fastestgrowing target group is currently the over-50s. This means that computer and video games are part of everyday media life for millions of Germans. At the same time, games and their technologies offer huge potential in sectors such as education, medicine, logistics or mechanical and plant engineering. And in view of the increasing relevance of ”The Industrial Internet of Things“, the potential of games technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality cannot be overestimated.
gamescom will be 10 years old this year and will celebrate numerous world and European premieres. It involves over 900 exhibitors from all over the world, 355,000 visitors, live acts and indoor and outdoor performances etc. The gamescom in Cologne is the world‘s largest event for computer and video games. Why Cologne?
We can be proud of the fact that gamescom is a globally unique figurehead for the computer and video games industry. Nowhere else do gaming fans enjoy a comparable experience. For trade visitors, gamescom represents the European games industry’s most important business platform. gamescom not only takes place in a beautiful city but also boasts a strong partner in the Koelnmesse – a partner that helps us to continuously develop gamescom. The best proof that our concept works is that since 2010 more than 2.5 million visitors have travelled to gamescom in Cologne. The number of exhibitors has also risen sharply, making gamescom one of the largest trade fairs in Germany. Far bigger than the CEBIT in Hanover, the IFA in Berlin or the Frankfurt Book Fair for instance.
Festivalisation is becoming increasingly important at trade fairs and congresses. How important is this at gamescom?
We’ve always looked at gamescom more like a festival than a trade fair. In addition to product presentations, we also offer a comprehensive programme for visitors which includes the gamescom cosplay village, the family & friends area, eSports events or the gamescom city festival. gamescom congress and the devcom developer conference also offer a unique supporting programme.
Learn more: gamescom.de