Are the fat years over now? (Happy Friday)

In Berlin, due to rising consumer costs, further aid packages are being prepared (photo: GamesWirtschaft)

If there is still so much money left at the end of the month: Higher maintenance costs should also have an impact on the gaming industry.

Dear GamesWirtschaft reader,
Dear GamesWirtschaft reader,

Last week, we dealt with the question of whether the visit to the fair in the summer of 2022 can be made immune to the omicron to any degree. With the promise of a “safe” implementation, Gamescom officially went on sale in spring.

You can have doubts about it – no matter how wide the corridors are and how digital the tickets are, and how often people are reminded not to shake hands. Because the oath is taken at the latest when two, three, four people exchange hearts or face to face in hallways or toasts at parties. Just having someone board a plane in Munich, Heathrow or Charles-de-Gaulle on Monday without symptoms means absolutely nothing for Tuesday or Wednesday.

From my own experience I know how fast it can go from last Tuesday evening: As a souvenir of a long weekend in the capital, I brought an infection that could always be expected at family celebrations, tours and concerts.

Now only Berlin air.

Happy Friday - the weekly column on GamesWirtschaft
Happy Friday – the weekly column on GamesWirtschaft

This didn’t really surprise me, despite all caution: With more cases and a maximum international audience, the likelihood of Covid multipliers in hotel elevators, restaurants or at the buffet breakfast inevitably increases. The obligation to wear masks on crowded metro and suburban trains is interpreted as a recommendation anyway.

And boom – it happened. The course is relatively gentle and easy to manage, thanks to the demand. Adjust the oma crowns, continue.

This is just an addition to last week’s article that sparked a full spectrum of anecdotal evidence via social media, comments, and emails. Motto: “Don’t feel so bad – my friend’s brother-in-law had a mild cold at best”.

It wasn’t about the health aspect (of course not entirely insignificant) for mebut rather that it will be a difficult time, especially for stand operators and service providers, to have adequately reinforced staff on hand between assembly and dismantling – ie between mid and end of August. There are no plans, because Gamescom 2022 will be the first public fair and fair in two and a half years to a) take place on such a scale and b) with almost no official restrictions.

In this respect, the results of this social XXL experiment can be expected. Perhaps the tension in this regard in some parts of the industry is completely unfounded, and instead we should tackle our main topic today, much more urgently, which will have an impact in the fall at the latest.

No, not about what tent Wiesn the owner of the premises, Layla, can sing about. But: the consequences of galloping inflation in the US (9.1%) and the EU (8.3%), which will inevitably also affect the gaming industry.

Considering the fact that in the coming months many households will have to reckon with a four-digit surcharge / advance payment for heating costs, and prices in supermarkets are rising and growing and growing, the country is extremely calm. However, anyone who has previously been able to meet the cost of living with great difficulty is facing a growing problem. One tip: The number of users on boards has doubled regionally.

And if, contrary to the savings plan, they do not go to a holiday, an amusement park, a cinema, renovation or a new couch in the living room, but to an electricity and gas supplier, it inevitably affects not only retirees and students, but also the often quoted middle class.

While computer and video games are undoubtedly great enrichments, they are redundant when there is a great need – as opposed to running water, decent food and an inexpensive way of working. It is therefore evident that savings, cancellations, and postponements are first made where there is the least risk of restriction – for example, a rarely used streaming subscription or an even less used gym contract.

It would therefore be surprising if the mix of disrupted supply chains, component shortages, significant price increases, high energy costs, job fears and lower disposable income did not reach publishers, studios and retailers on time. Depending on how the cumulative crisis unfolds, people will be asking themselves why they should spend 60 euros on a replacement PS5 cover. Either the Full HD TV will still work or the new 65-inch is already needed. And whether the game is absolutely necessary on the first day or four weeks later if you can save between € 10 and € 20.

Market researchers are already seeing a significant decline in hardware demand as many consumers only purchased their laptops, TVs and tablets at the onset of the pandemic. Sales in the entertainment and gaming sector skyrocketed in 2020 and 2021, also in Germany.

If the money is not that easy anymore, Free2Play games can take away even more market share from full-price titles. In uncertain times, consumers are also more likely to orient themselves towards established brands and wary of new franchises. With their business model and portfolio in mind, each provider will have to find its own answer to deal with the tensions in consumer wallets.

And here the circle closes for the market season in late summer. As the organizers of the Berlin IFA from September 2 to 6 responded in June, leaving admission prices unchanged compared to 2019 – unlike Gamescom, where admission fees are expected to be surcharged of 50 to 100 percent.

We are delighted to finally welcome IFA visitors again live at the fairgrounds: “For this reason, we also decided not to raise ticket prices this year – despite inflation and increased costs. In this way, we would like to thank our visitors for their loyalty and celebrate the industry reboot together. “

I could as well imagine such a welcome signal from Cologne.

Have a nice weekend

Petra Happy
Editor-in-chief of Gry Wirtschaft

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