My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: GamesCom 2015 in Germany - Why VR will save Video Games and Why Jamaica needs a Design and Developer Video Game Conference

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

GamesCom 2015 in Germany - Why VR will save Video Games and Why Jamaica needs a Design and Developer Video Game Conference

“This is a very positive signal for us because it is usually in the second half of the year that we see a huge chunk of sales in our industry. No other media sector in Germany is growing as strongly as the computer and Video games industry”

Head of BIU, Maximilian Shenk, commenting on a recently concluded study that suggests that the Video Game Industry is on the rise

GamesCon, the largest Video Game Conference in Germany and possibly the World, starts on Wednesday August 5th 2015 at Koelnmesse, Cologne's International Exhibition Center, located in Cologne, Germany as reported in the article “Gamescom: Gaming industry surging ahead”, published August 3 2015, by Rolf Wenkel, DW.  

This is happening at the same time as the GDC (Game Developers Conference Europe) Europe, which is also being held in Cologne, Germany. Both events will see some eight hundred (800) developers from forty five (45) countries in attendance to showcase the latest and the greatest in the World of Video Gaming.

Game Developers attending GamesCon has increased by some 53% since 2009, with a corresponding 82% increase in visitors eager to check out the Exhibitions, space for which has increased by 61%. All-Day Tickets have already been sold out, and the number of attendees is expected to top the 2014 figure of some 335,000 people.

This guarantees that the Koelnmesse International Exhibition Center will be full to brimming, to quote Head of Koelnmesse Gerald Böse:  “Gamescom has been a true success story since it began to be held in Cologne. And it is reflected in all key figures such as the number of developers attending and visitors”.

So what will be on display for the viewing Public that's expected to draw such a crowd?

GamesCom 2015 in Germany - Why VR and AR will save the Video Game Industry

For one, Virtual Reality Gaming as described in my blog article entitled “@Oculus Mobile VR Jam 2015 - How @samsung Gear VR is Gearing up for Competition in the VR and AR Space”. This despite the fact that we may not quite be ready for it, both mentally and physically.

Virtual Reality Gaming huge departure from Virtual Reality from the 80’s, was clearly the buzz at the recently concluded of E3 (Electronics Entertainment Expo) in June 2015 as reported in “The biggest Video game conference of the year is becoming the virtual reality show”, published June 13, 2015, by Ian Sherr, CNET News.  

Modern VR differs from the 80's in that the developement of accelerometers, magnetometers and GPS means that the full range of your head and body motion can be accurately tracked. This allows you to move yourself around in the game instead of just being a passive observer.

The developement of Gaming Controller that allow the gamer to directly interact with their Gaming environment is the next evolution that VR headsets need in order to bring these alternate realities to life.

So too is the need for improved haptic feedback mechanism as well as EEG based controllers that can directly connect your mind into the game like the Muse Mind Controller as described in my blog article entitled “IndieGogo funded Interaxion debut US$199 Muse Mind Controller at Le Web in France - Future Silver Lining Playbook for Gaming that'll Exercise the Windmills of Your Mind”.

There Video Game Industry is set to experience some rapid expansion come 2016 with the introduction of Virtual Reality headsets for which Google is cooking up a version of Android as predicted in my blog article entitled “@google to develope Google @Android for VR - Why a VR and AR War is looming on the Horizon in 2016”.

So how developed in Gaming in Germany? Surprisingly, they have the same problems as Jamaica when it comes to the Video Game Industry.

German Gaming Industry set to rise - Why Jamaica needs a Design and Developer Video Game Conference

While the Americans seem to be experiencing a dry spell from which their Console Gaming Industry is slowly recovering as noted in the article “Retail Video game industry bounces back to life in June”, published July 16, 2015 by Nick Statt, CNET News, the Gaming Industry in the rest of the World seems set to experience a boom, especially in Germany.

According to the BIU (Federal Association of Interactive Entertainment Software) in Germany:

1.      13,000 fulltime Game Developers
2.      32,000 jobs created by Game Developers
3.      US$2.92 billion (2.67 billion euros) in Game Sales

The BIU commissioned market research firm GfK to study the German Gaming Market. They discovered that in the six (6) months of 2015 from January to June 2015:

1.         US$2.92 billion (€2.67 billion) for the Video Game Industry in Germany overall
2.         US$333.3 million (€306 million) came from PlayStation 4, Wii U and Xbox
3.         75% of Video Game sales is via Physical Storage media i.e. DVDs and Blu-ray Discs.
4.         25% of Video Games sales is from the Downloading of PC Games

All these figures represent an increase on the same period in 2015, with US$286.5 million (€263 million) in sales coming from Video Games sales to PlayStation 4, Wii U and Xbox Console owners.

23% of the sales come from the Downloading of PC Games during the same period in 2014. Games from the Apple iTunes Store and the Google Play Store accounted for some 75% of German Downloading Sales, with the remaining 25% of Video Game downloads for PC and Macs.

Overall, the GfK is projecting a 3% rise in the sales of Video Games in Germany towards the end of 2016.

The same is very true for the rest of the world, especially as we're gearing up for VR and AR (Augmented Reality) headsets from companies such as Microsoft, HTC and even Samsung as predicted in my blog article entitled “Rivalry between @Facebook and @HTC – @Google, @Microsoft, @Sony and @Samsung in VR as Video Game Console Savior and smartphones Extinction”.
So if you're a Video Game Developer in Germany, you'd do best to focus on developing Games for either Gaming Consoles or uploading to the Apple iTunes or Google Play App Store. 

Surprisingly, Germany faces the same problems as Jamaica does as noted in my blog article entitled “Prof. Joseph Saulter's Digital Game Design and Development Conference - US$112 Billion Video Gaming Industry may be Jamaicans Next BPO”,  as they also have an acute lack of skilled Programmers and Developers, a problem shared with their counterparts in the Engineering field.

So as GamesCom comes around, perhaps it’s time that Jamaica started our own Developer Conference to encourage Jamaican Developers and Designers from all walks of life to pursue a career in Video Game Developement.

Truly, the best way to celebrate Emancipation come Thursday August 6th 2015!

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