One of the world's largest video game conventions was opened by one of the world's most powerful leaders, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as Gamescom 2017 got underway in Cologne. Matthew Larotonda reports.
One of the world's largest annual video game expos opening with an unusual sight: Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, at Gamescom in Cologne framed by Batman and an elite crew of fantasy characters. Germany is one of Europe's biggest gaming markets, a multi-billion dollar industry. And among its 900 exhibitions this year, Gamescom is continuing the push to showcase virtual reality hardware. But there's also a new emphasis on social interaction from industry titan Sony. For example, friends sharing a game next to each other in a living room. For years the trend among the largest developers has been to focus on single individuals, removing face-to-face interaction in favor of anonymous online play. Merkel herself reportedly played a game called "Farming Simulator," which is exactly what it sounds like. The chancellor is known to have a big interest in the high tech, and where it intersects with younger voters. With national elections next month she might need it - her party has traditionally polled poorly with the group most associated with these digital adventures.