Fans of tabletop gaming should be very familiar with Essen Spiel. Officially titled the Internationale Spieltage SPIEL event, it was first held in Essen, Germany back in 1983, and is one of the largest tabletop gaming conventions in the world. It is a showcase for board games, card games, and tabletop RPGs around the world with over 200,000 visitors every single year. Now, this enduring convention has a new owner, which has affirmed its desire to keep the convention as a staple of the industry.
According to a news report, Essen Spiel’s new owner is a fair organizer called Spielwarenmasse eG. They are mostly known as a fair organizer and marketing programs, their most well known being as the Spielwarenmasse convention in Nuremberg, one of the largest trade fairs for toys, hobby and leisure products in the world. It is through these organization and marketing connections, they have developed a network of representatives in over 90 countries, as well as several subsidiaries in China and India.
When asked why the company made such an investment, Spielwarenmasse eG’s Executive Board Spokesperson, Christian Ulrich made it clear that this would not deviate or undermine Essen Spiel’s place in the industry. He stated, “In the Spielwarenmesse and the SPIEL games fair we have two entirely different concepts, but those concepts intersect powerfully in terms of subject matter, creating plenty of synergies. With SPIEL, we are expanding our responsibilities in the business area for games, without changing the typical character of the fair.”
Given what Ulrich and the company have done in the past, this solidarity with the tabletop industry has some sturdy foundation. In October of 2021, Spielwarnmasse eG helped integrate the Game Inventors Convention into the larger venue in Nuremberg, allowing tabletop developers to show off prototypes of their projects to potential customers, publishers, and members of the press at a much bigger stage.
With this information in mind, it seems that acquisition of Essen Spiel by Spielwarenmasse eG has the potential to grow and expand one of the biggest stages of the tabletop industry even further.