Gamescom is back. The biggest event in the European gaming calendar is taking place in Cologne from the 22nd - 26th August and thousands of people from across the games industry will be there to enjoy the fun.
How can you make the most out of your trip to Germany? And what should you be keeping an eye out for to make sure that you make the most of the show?
Here are our top tips for things to look out for (and to do) when you’re out at the show.
The most obvious thing to look forward to at Gamescom are the games that will be on display. The show is one of the key dates in the industry calendar and marks one of the last opportunities for developers to show their wares ahead of Christmas.
As per usual, there are plenty of big name games for you to play on the show floor. EA will be showing off Star Wars Battlefront 2, offering fans the chance to dabble in its revamped squad based FPS action.
Activision will be letting players onto Call of Duty: WW2 to discover for themselves its new Destiny like mechanics. And Nintendo will likely be showing off a number of Mario games, including Super Mario Odyssey and XCOM style strategy battler Mario X Rabbids.
However, there are plenty of chances to enjoy games from other publishers and independent developers too. Some, such as Rare’s fancy pirate game Sea of Thieves, will be on the stands of major companies such as Microsoft. But other companies will be showing their games on the down low in the business area or behind closed doors, so don’t be afraid to ask developers what they are working on to see if you can get a go on their newest title.
Gamescom is an enormous show. On the business side of things, there are a number of closed off halls for industry professionals to do their work in. While they’re pretty large spaces – playing host to developers, trade bodies, service providers and more – they offer a safe haven for anyone wanting to escape the consumer side of the event.
After the first day, which is reserved pretty much exclusively for the industry and media, the consumers show up. On the plus side, you get the chance to see thousands of people who love games in one place. This is invaluable for feedback and for promotional purposes for anyone demoing a game. But you also get to see the cultural side, with cosplayers showing their impressive game themed costumes off to the world.
On the flip side of things, the glut of consumers does make things pretty busy. From Thursday onwards, the previously quiet demo halls become extremely busy with hefty queues for every game. At this point, it's highly advisable to take any serious discussions to the business hall and retreat to the UKIE stand in the business area. From then onwards, it will be your haven and keep you calm amidst the madness.
The Fringe Events
When Gamescom rolls into town, the networking events follow. Each of these offer something different, giving you the chance to fill the spaces in your diary with some valuable networking or relaxation time.
But whatever kind of event appeals to you, it’s important that you make sure to spend a bit of your time at these fringe offerings. As well as providing a bit of a palate cleanser to the main show, they’ll also help you meet more people in a less pressured environment – ironically making it easier to do business.
Lastly, it’s worth spending a bit of time exploring the city itself. Although you will undoubtedly spend most of your time at the conference hall, it’s worth grabbing a half day to take a look around Cologne if you get the chance.
The highlight of the city is the enormous gothic cathedral sat right in the middle of it. It’s an imposing, yet inspiring, landmark and one that you will naturally gravitate towards if your accommodation is in the city.
But there’s more to the city than that. There’s a well supported Bundesliga team called FC Koln, who have a home fixture on the 25 th if that tickles your fancy. For the more culturally minded, Cologne also has adozen museumsthat you could pop into. And the cityboasts a chocolate factorytoo, which is great news for anyone who has a sweet tooth.