The Gamescom 2018 in Cologne focuses on diversity, as the official magazine of the fair should explain. The selection of topics and playable protagonists in modern games is "huge", you can read. In line with this year's motto, "Diversity wins", it goes on: "The great diversity attracts more and more players, regardless of their nationality, age, gender or physical limitations." Nowadays games are made by teams whose employees have a "very different origin". And: "Women make up almost half of the players."
There is something about everything. Felix Falk, Managing Director of the German trade association, says he is proud to show Gamescom "how diverse the world of games is", especially at a time when we have a tendency towards discrimination, racism and exclusion in society. ".
Given its size, the Gamescom is even a remarkably quiet and tolerant event, given the stress in the sometimes hoppy rooms. Cosplayers who pretend to be pawns have their place and also hardcore gamers who are in a row for three hours, just like the fans of YouTubers who are waiting for a short hug from their favorite videomaker.
Ten years smarter
Every year hundreds of thousands of young people go to the Cologne fair. The biggest scandal in their history is therefore a RTL contribution from 2011, in which gamers were flatly defamed.
From this time is not expected that such contributions, games has won in times of smartphones and e-sports events in the arena's reputation. "Politics, society and the media now understand better how exciting and important games and the development of games are," says Association Leader Falk. The CSU minister of State for Digital, Dorothee Bär, said at the opening of the fair: "Supporting games in one way or another do not harm anyone anymore."
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Harassment and reactions to hatred are problems
However, it can not be denied that even the games industry, which represents more than a thousand exhibitors from all over the world in Cologne, still has problems in terms of diversity and coexistence, despite all productions.
Our photo series shows an example of what the industry has done in the past year alone, from hate attacks to a journalist to the intimidation of streamer:
Compared to 2009, the year of the first Gamescom in Cologne, it is clear that the sector is making progress in the area of diversity. So today there are more games with (sometimes optional) female protagonists and in general only a few new titles in which women are mainly portrayed as sex objects.
However, a recent Bitkom poll concludes that "seven out of ten women who play" find the depiction of female characters in games "inappropriate and outdated" – a view that, according to the survey, nearly half of the men share.
E-Sport is still a male domain
If you look around in the Gamescom environment, it is one of the last clearly male-dominated areas of e-sports: in the relevant games here, where physical differences, in contrast to classical sport, do not play a role, almost exclusively men for fame and high prize money. At a conference in the run-up to Gamescom about e-sports, gaming and the sports industry, more than 50 people were on the podium on Monday – including just three women.
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Falk's industry association is of the opinion that the lack of women in e-sports can be related to the early years of the scene, since almost only men are enthusiastic about professional gaming: "We probably still see the result of this period." But he believes that this area will change: "It was comparable in the development of games, where there are now more women in the studio & # 39; s and where more and more women as a target group are coming into focus."
Of the gamers who spread hatred in the net or who rebel against female figures in games, Falk says that you should not overestimate their number and relevance. "Gamers who are angry about diversity in games are often considered more fun than they actually are." The large silent majority are "peaceful players". But even between players should apply: if the sensible is quiet, the rest determines the discourse.