Catalonia’s Gamelab attracts world’s video game experts
Barcelona area holds one of the industry’s leading congresses with eSports at the center of the debate
Virtual and mixed reality, artificial intelligence, mobile video games, wargaming, eSports… These are no longer words of the future, they are already part of the present. Some of the world’s leading video game experts are meeting this week in Catalonia at one of the sector’s top three congresses, Gamelab, where they will discuss these concepts among many others. Starting on Wednesday, this 13th edition of the fair will cover the latest trends in this fast-growing business, with eSports first among them.
Kurt Melcher, executive director of eSports at Intersport, and Mike Sepso, vice-president of Activision Blizzard, are just two of the experts invited to the event, which will hold around 40 talks and roundtable discussions. More than 1,000 people representing 500 companies from all over the world are expected to attend the congress, which takes place near the Catalan capital of Barcelona in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat’s Hesperia Hotel.
"We are bringing together the most representative people in this sector to look to the future in a fast-changing market"
Gonzo Suárez · Gamelab founder
“We are bringing together the most representative people in this sector to look to the future in a fast-changing market and create interesting discussion,” said Gamelab founder Gonzo Suárez. He also welcomed the continued support for the fair from the Catalan government in the past few years. According to Suárez, the executive “has been encouraging this industry” unlike other administrations within Spain.
In fact, Catalonia accounts for more than 40% of the total video game business in Spain, according to 2015 data in the Catalan Industry White Paper. Around 120 companies in the sector in Catalonia directly employ 1,687 people –and more than 3,000 indirectly. This means that almost 40% of the overall video gaming professionals in Spain work for Catalan firms. Moreover, while the industry’s turnover surpasses €200 million, the White Paper reports that by 2019 this figure could grow to €600 million in Catalonia.
As in last year’s edition, eSports and their emerging competitive leagues will be among the most discussed topics at Gamelab, as the business behind it already reaches into the hundreds of millions of euros. It comes as no surprise, then, that the Catalan government announced earlier this month that it is considering setting up a Catalan league and even creating a team to represent Catalonia in the Winter Olympic Games in 2018 and 2022, at which eSports will be a demonstration sport.