Catalonia welcomes first edition of Barcelona Games World, previously held in Madrid
Barcelona (CNA).- The Barcelona Games World video game fair will receive up to 90,000 visitors in the next four days at the Montjuïc Exhibition Centre. Previously held in Madrid, the event has kicked off this Thursday and will count on the participation of 155 exhibitors, the same number as at the last (now defunct) edition in the Spanish capital. Brands such as Electronic Arts, Nintendo and Badland Games will set up showcases. Until the 9th of October the fair will welcome videogames competitions, professional meetings between the Spanish industry and investors from all over and talks by key gurus of the video games industry. One of the main attractions of this year’s edition is mobile games, and interactive virtual ‘retro-games’, as well as a room for robotics. This approach to a more “technological” and “digital world” is, according to the organisers, one of the reasons that brought the show to Barcelona, thanks to its “bond” with this industry as well as the Mobile World Congress.
Organised by the Spanish Association of Video Games (AEVI) and the Fira of Barcelona, the event has four main areas. In the first, 155 leading companies of the video game industry will present 70 new titles from this season, among them: ‘Tekken 7’, ‘Mafia III’, ‘Resident Evil 7’ and EA Sports’ ‘Fifa 17’. This is section is “the soul” of the fair, pointed out the director of the event, Josep Antoni Llopart.
Besides this, the fair has three other areas. ‘Games Arena’ is the space where professional gamers and visitors can play and take part in online video game competitions. ‘Games Pro’ is a programme with activities for professionals of the sector aiming at boosting and internationalising the Spanish industry and focusing on the financing of independent developers and the mobile phone as a ‘gaming’ platform. Last, but not least, ‘Retrobarcelona’ is the 4th meeting devoted to video games and games consoles from the 80’s. At the Fira Barcelona, this display area will have 6,000 square metres and will allow visitors to play some of the games.
Moreover, the fair will count on the participation of international personalities from the world of video games, who will offer talks. The most prominent are Katsuhiro Harada, head of the 'Tekken' saga for over 20 years; Hajime Tabata, director of 'Final Fantasy XV'; and Charles Martinet, American dubbing actor best known as the voice of Mario, from the popular game series Super Mario Bros.
Barcelona World Games lands in Barcelona from Madrid, where until now the AEVI celebrated Madrid Games Week. According to its president and CEO, Alberto González and José María Moreno, its arrival in the city does not clash with another event in the city on videogames, Gamelab, held for 12 years.
In fact, they argued that Barcelona World Games is a general and "reference" fair, where members of the AEVI unveil their products to boost the rest of the industry. In this way, the organisers made a distinction between Gamelab, "a very important fair that covers only one aspect, networking”. "In all countries there is a benchmark fair, as this will be", reiterated the director of Barcelona World Games.
Catalonia, the region with most video game consumption
Catalonia is the major consumer among the Spanish regions and accounts for 40% of video game development studios, the same percentage as Madrid. The remaining 20% is distributed among the other territories.
In Spain alone, there are 15 million gamers and video games are the first choice of audiovisual entertainment. The edition of this year's event hopes to achieve a "record" number of attendees and participating companies and also wants to turn the fair into an event to gather all the stakeholders in the video game world, in this way becoming an international point of reference.
In this vein, Moreno stated that the reason for moving the fair to Barcelona was "not because Madrid does not have a great international projection, but because so far the strategy has concentrated on Spain and this year our interest is to be known in the rest of Europe and the world".
“Catalonia is the spearhead in the consumption and development of video games and we thought it made sense to approach this year the Catalan public”, specified the director general of the AEVI. In this sense, he is in favour of taking decisions “year by year” and believes that this year “the best option was Barcelona”, which in the future has “many possibilities” to continue hosting the event. Asked if there is room for two fairs in Spain, Moreno believes so, but stated that the association currently only considers supporting one fair.