Motion capture, 3D to be focus for Gamescom

Games industry needs boost after falling off last year

COLOGNE, Germany -- Gamescom, Europe's number one video game trade fair (Aug. 18-22) promises to be a techie's delight this year with a hopes that new 3D and motion capture software can boost sales.

Microsoft, with its new Kinect software and Sony with its Move system, both of which hit shops later this year, are looking to challenge Nintendo's popular Wii console and win a piece of the lucrative casual gaming market.

For more hard-core gamers, 3-D systems, such as Nintendo's handheld 3DS -- first unveiled at the E3 in Los Angeles earlier this month -- are the big buzz. In a move that mirrors the push by studios to churn out 3D features, game designers are rushing to design 3D-capable titles.

The business could use a boost. After posting years of unbridled growth, the games industry fell with the rest of the global economy last year. Revenue from game sales in Germany dropped 2% to €1.56 billion ($1.91 billion) while hardware sales fell 5% to €932 million ($1.14 billion). But Gamescom organizers, German games association BIU, said it expects a return to growth this year and are forecasting 5% revenue growth for the territory in 2010.

In its second year in Cologne, the Gamescom is looking to expand its international reach and has signed up Canada as its first partner country for the 2010 fair. Ranked by some as the number three territory (behind the U.S. and Japan) for games development worldwide, Canada boasts some 250 development studios and has turned out some of the biggest hits of the past few years, including "Need for Speed," "EA Sports FIFA" and "Assassin's Creed."