German game confab heads west

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COLOGNE, Germany -- The German Games Convention, one of the largest video game events in the world, will move west next year, shifting from its current location in the Eastern German city of Leipzig to Cologne in 2009.

Games Convention organizers, the national gaming association BIU, also is changing the name of Europe's top gaming event to GamesCom and has locked in an annual September date that will begin next year, the group announced Monday.

The BIU said that the convention has outgrown Leipzig, a picturesque city of 500,000 in what used to be communist East Germany.

Instead of the 200,000 visitors the BIU expected for last year's Games Convention, only 185,000 attended the event, a discrepancy organizers blame on a lack of hotel rooms.

BIU managing director Olaf Wolters said that moving to Cologne, a city of about 1 million, was necessary if the German games convention was to continue to hold on to its position as Europe's No. 1 trade fair for the video game industry.

Germany's Games Convention rivals the Tokyo Game Show as the world's largest such event. Unlike the trade-only E3 show in Los Angeles, the German and Japanese conventions also are open to regular gamers.

The 2008 Games Convention will be held Aug. 20-24.
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