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Fluid’s Lewis Bradburn hits Gamescom

This year comms manager Nick was joined in Cologne by our new Digital Account Director, Lewis. As everyone is no doubt sick to death of hearing Nick ramble semi-coherently about his escapades to Gamescom, we thought we would interview Lewis this year.

How was the travel and accommodation? 

I flew out with a colleague, Nick, in the very early hours of Tuesday morning; why I agreed to a 4am start I don’t know. Turns out Nick's a rubbish flyer, which meant whilst he was strapped in, arms crossed, headphones on, and eyes closed for the entire flight I had to vent my excitement at the air hostess! Poor girl.

After landing in Düsseldorf and much confusion trying to understand and program the German sat nav, we found the Autobahn! Pulling into Cologne, our hotel was prime location being only 3 metro stops away from Gamescom.

Gamescom: View From Plane

How aware were you of Gamescom before your visit?

Very aware. For the past five years I’ve worked extremely closely with the Xbox marketing team to launch content rich Gamescom hubs for EMEA, which were prepped ready for releasing the latest announcements as they happen real time. For me, mid August has always been a hectic month managing confidential key art, codenamed games, quick fire content updates, and creative for social platforms.

Being on the show floor at the event this year came with a completely different experience. With what felt like little inside knowledge about upcoming launches, I really had to keep my ear to the ground to get the news! In an ironic way it almost seemed the most detached I had been from the event, but detached with a positive spin.

Gamescom: Event Pass

Which company stood out the most? 

It was almost an impossible mission to get round to all the booths in 3 days coupled with our busy schedule, but from what we saw Xbox had a busy stand; it spanned the entire depth of one of the halls featuring a large stage, Xbox Games Pass stand, many Xbox One’s, and a huge PUBG aircraft carrier where fans were lined up and briefed before paying the game. Although it’s fair to say I have a soft spot for Xbox after working so closely with them for years. I was particularly excited when I spotted Vault Boy from Fallout and dived across the hall for a photo!
Gamescom: Xbox Stand
Gamescom: Vault Boy
PUBG seemed particularly dominant across the event. As well as their impressive set up that spanned around a quarter of the Xbox booth, they also had their own stand in a completely different hall.

What did you think of Cologne and the nightlife?

Honestly, after a full day of attempting to cover 2.8 million square feet and averaging approximately 16 KM per day, there was little energy left for the evenings. That said, we still managed to see the cathedral, walk over the Rhine, and sink many 0.2 L beers - apparently that’s the standard size over there? It’s worth mentioning the astonishing way beer was served. The ‘Kobes’, which are Kölsch waiters, carry their trays of beer through the bars of Cologne and without prompting replace your empty glass with a fresh beer. Can it get any better? A quick strike on you beer mat represents your beer count, which are totted up when it’s time to pay. And for the record, Kölsch is dangerously drinkable.
Gamescom: Beer Mat

What game are you looking forward to hopefully working on?

One of my favourite encounters was with the PUBG team from Bluehole, where we had introductions with six team members with roles across marketing, events, and merchandise. Our meeting took place in a PUBG metal portacabin, which honestly felt like something straight out the game. I’m a big fan anyway, so very keen to get our marketing caps on for Bluehole!

We even left with a PUBG cap and sunglasses, which Nick would not let me wear around the show?!

What did you enjoy about the fan area?

Walking around the consumer area on the first day was great. The game booths were massive, it was impressive to see. Passing the fluorescent green glow of Xbox, the cool blue of PlayStation, and hearing gun fire and grenades from Blizzard’s Overwatch, it was sensory overload!

Gamescom: Crowds

How many times did you get lost? 

Too many! Something I very quickly came to realise was how incredibly massive the venue was. We found ourselves running from hall to hall for meetings with a slight look of despair trying to navigate through the complicated hallways and staircases with minimal sign posts... all fun! 

Once the first day was over, it felt we’d pretty much conquered the navigation. But then day two arrived; Gamescom open to the public. Heading towards to Koelnmesse entrance I could not believe the size of the queue... I’ve never seen one so big in my life! I couldn’t help but have that smug smile on my face as we bypassed the queue, flashed our passes, and walked straight in. I felt for those gamers. Thankfully we spent a large period of time in the business zone, which was much appreciated because that humongous queue from outside had found its way into every hallway and every hall!

Did you try the schnitzel?

No... Was I supposed to?

Was Nick abominable company?

Surprisingly not... although I don't know how Nick would answer the same question about me!

What tips would you give to people that have not been before?

This is easy, my top tips are:
  1. Wear the comfiest footwear you have, and if you don’t have any buy some (not something I’d usually say!).
  2. If you’re in the industry, your trade pass is a winner. If you’re not, I’d suggest finding a job that is so you can spend the first day in the consumer zone without all the hustle and bustle!
  3. Maximise your caffeine intake - you’ll need the extra energy!
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