Gamescom is probably the biggest annual trade fair for video games, but this year's event will likely lose some of its glam due to stricter security policies.
A lot of Gamescom video game developers come to the Koelnmesse exhibition center in Cologne, Germany, to showcase their games alongside the game-related hardware. The gaming event's numbers are impressive: estimates point at 3,450,000 visitors, more than 6,000 journalists and 700 exhibitors from 88 countries coming at the sixth edition of Gamescom.
The world has faced an unexpectedly high number of mass violence in recent months, however, with the effects of those tragedies influencing the upcoming gaming event in Germany.
According to the fair's organizers, stricter security measures will be enforced to avoid any additional tragic event. For one thing, the 2016 edition of the event will ban not just weapon replicas, but also "weapon-like items."
This means that if you're going to cosplay as Harley Quinn or Deadpool, you will have to present yourself at the entry gates sans weaponry. What is more, gaming companies going to the event such as Microsoft Games or EA Games must label any vaguely threatening props.
All attendees are urged to leave any unnecessary rucksacks or bags at home. The extra security measures are not only targeted toward the safety of the fair's participants, but are also meant to set Cologne residents at peace. You see, most non-gaming fans cannot tell that you are cosplaying as a Call of Duty soldier and tend to get fidgety when they see a ready-for-battle soldier in their commute.
Despite the suggestion from the organizers, it is highly likely that the public will come equipped with both bags and rucksacks. People will be allowed to enter the Koelnmesse exhibition center only after a thorough check-up, which will lead to longer queues and extended waiting times to enter the event.
The organizers of Gamescom have not pinpointed the exact armed incidents that have led them to decide upon enforcing such strict security at this year's show. As a reminder, a mass shooting recently took place in Munich. In July, an 18-year-old man opened fire in a busy shopping district, leaving nine dead and 16 injured. The man shot himself shortly thereafter.
"In the present days, the need for safety is a major issue for all parties involved," says Gerald Böse, head of the Koelnmesse exhibition center.
He goes on to say that the organizers are doing everything in their power to impose only the essential safety measures, while leaving Gamescom as free to manifest itself as possible. Böse notes that he hopes to have the "understanding and support of all participants."
Gamescom organizers have made it clear that a similar set of rules will be applied to GDC Europe, another event that takes place at the Koelnmesse exhibition center.
The safeguards could cause some dissatisfaction among fans of video games.
However, it must be noted that they also come to underline the complicated balance the gaming industry must reach between its reliance on violent content and respect for the effects of real-life violence.
In related news, two of the most anticipated conferences at Gamescom were scraped, and you can read all about it in our coverage.