I’m spending this year doing some research in Germany, and part of that research involves attending a wide variety of gaming-related events in Germany. This past week, I went to probably the biggest event I’ll go to: Gamescom. Some of you may know that Gamescom is one of the bigger game industry events in the world, and it serves as an event where the biggest publishers and developers show off their very expensive games. Basically, the intertwining of games and capital doesn’t get any more cozy than at Gamescom, and it was precisely because of how business-oriented this spectacle is that I went. I wanted to see how the games industry, in Germany but also around the world, presented itself to various “publics,” and how various social and industry groups talked about each other and games.
In order to preserve my immediate reactions and to share some of my experiences, I decided to release videos for every day of the convention that I attended. Below you can check out the videos I made for each day.
Day 1 – Trade Visitor Area
I spent the first day in the Trade Visitor area, thanks to the help of my advisor and a colleague. I came in expecting something very different than what actually occurred, but reflecting on that dissonance felt productive.
Day 2 – Gamescom Congress
The second day was a bit more my speed. I spent the day at the Gamescom Congress, a conference featuring lawyers, academics, government officials, and other industry figures. It was during this day that I really noticed some differences between American and German discourses about social and political issues related to the games industry and games cultures.
Day 3 – Show Floor
My third and final day was a bit more casual. I walked around a lot of the public show floor, played a few games, and had some really great conversations with some developers showing games.
Derek Price produces and co-hosts the Scholars At Play podcast, and is also a PhD candidate in German Studies and Media Studies at Vanderbilt University. His dissertation project "Playing Economy: Leisure and Labor in German Gaming Cultures" addresses the convergence of labor, leisure, work, and play in and around German video games and board games.