What to Expect from Gamescom 2016

By Keza MacDonald on at

Kotaku UK is headed to Gamescom today - if the site's a bit quiet, it's because we're travelling. It's a less exciting show this year, with neither Sony nor Microsoft putting on a big show, but we'll be rifling through what's there to find the most interesting games. Here's a quick overview of what to expect from the show.

What's Gamescom, again?

Gamescom is Europe's biggest gaming event, aimed at players from Germany and all over Europe. Basically, everyone in gaming descends upon a giant building in Cologne, sets up their games, and invites a few hundred thousand people to play of them. Think of it as an E3 for the European public. This year, it runs from this Wednesday August 17th to Saturday August 20th, with a few pre-events and livestreams today (August 16th).

Things have been changing over the past few years, though. This is my 10th Gamescom, and it's the first where no major console manufacturer or publisher is making announcements. Gamescom used to involve big press conferences, unseen games, and the usual corporate grandstanding. Nowadays, the focus has shifted much more towards giving attendees something to remember, with bigger play areas and community events replacing new announcements.

That's great news if you're actually at Gamescom, but not so much if you're following the news at home. We'll be playing lots of games this week, but we don't expect much on the news front.

PlayStation

Last year, Sony skipped its usual Gamescom press-conference show and dance for Paris Games Week in October. This year, it's holding its own event in New York in early September to announce the PS4 Neo. That means there will be nothing new from Sony at Gamescom.

Xbox

Microsoft started holding Gamescom press conferences a few years back, but it's also skipping it this year in favour of a "fan event", at which people will be able to play its upcoming games from this year. That happens this evening, Tuesday 16th.

EA

EA usually puts on another Gamescom press conference, but this year it looks a bit lower key. It will be live-streamed starting at 6.45pm UK time today, Tuesday 16th. You can watch it here, and it'll include a look at Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1, FIFA, Star Wars, and all the other announced games. Again, don't expect anything new.

Nintendo

Nintendo will be at Gamescom showing off its announced games for the end of the year and early next, but again, it will not be making any new announcements.

Blizzard

Gamescom has always had a PC focus, and in the absence of all the big console players, that's especially true this year. Blizzard will have a huge presence on the show floor, and will host a short livestream on Tuesday, August 16th from 5.30pm UK time. You can watch it here.

Activision

There will be a Destiny: Rise of Iron livestream this evening, Tuesday 16th, from 6pm UK time. You can watch it here, or below:

Watch live video from Bungie on www.twitch.tv

That's about it for this year. From Wednesday, we'll be on the show floor playing things, including quite a few smaller games that we've not had the chance to see yet, and digging through for the most interesting stuff. Gamescom is starting to look less and less like the European E3 that it was four or five years ago, but it's still a great place to actually play some games.