If you’re not currently located in the glorious realm of castles, dragons, lederhosen and relaxed drinking attitudes that is Europe -- or even if you are -- there’s a good chance that you’re not aware what a huge fat slab of Big Deal Gamescom is. Much younger and far less well-known than the glamourously tanned, sparkle-toothed E3, next week’s GC (based in Cologne, Germany) is nevertheless serious gaming business indeed. Now becoming comparable to E3 in scale, spectacle and industry importance, it’s categorically worth every bit of attention you can give it this year.
Need specifics? Right. First up, everyone is there. Everyone. Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, EA, Activision, Bethesda, Blizzard, Konami, Ubisoft, CD Projekt, Deep Silver, Warner Bros., Oculus… That’s just a list of names pulled out after a quick scan of the already-creaking logistical nightmare that is my current GC appointment schedule. And it’s but a tiny surface scratch of the full array of exhibitors attending the show this year. And what’s more, everyone is bringing new, exciting, bona fide AAA stuff.
We’re going to get new demos of the next year’s biggest current and next-gen games. There’s going to be a crapton of information and hands-on time not available at E3. Given the timing of Gamescom, the show sometimes used to be guilty of providing little more than a “Previously, at E3…” recap, regurgitating old demos for an audience of journos who perhaps couldn’t make it over to L.A. But no more.
Over recent years, publishers have wised up. They’ve realised that the internet means that all coverage is international coverage, and thus they’ve started recognising the true potential of a second summer show. Having Gamescom a couple of months after E3 allows them to deliver a two-hit combo of hype, dropping initial announcements in L.A. and then following up with a haymaker of additional content and revelations in Cologne. With the end of this year being next-gen ground zero, Gamescom 2013 is going to be more important than ever in that respect.
Seriously, that appointment schedule I was talking about a couple of paragraphs above? Terrifying. The Excel doc it currently sits within looks like a giant, throbbing Tetris stack of excitement and horror, a monolithic virtual monument to an upcoming full week of running, sweating, note-taking, game-playing, and tearfully lapsing into mini-comas each and every night. It’s going to be great. And horrible. But mainly great.
Think of any upcoming current or next-gen game you’re excited about, and the chances are that it’ll be there. And I already know I’ll be seeing one or two that you don’t even know about yet, but obviously I’m not going to tell you what they are right now. Not only that, but Microsoft, Sony and EA are hitting Gamescom hard with round two of their next-gen press conferences.
Microsoft have got a hell of a lot of face-saving to do after the original Xbox One fallout and subsequent festival of U-turns, so it’s going to be a damnably important show to watch. Probably more so than the E3 conference, what with Sony winding up a second wave of retaliation, in a continent always traditionally very loyal to the PlayStation brand. We already know that MS will be revealing new exclusives, and don’t be at all surprised if Sony does too. And naturally it’ll be streaming here on Radar, live as it all goes down.
And it’s not just about all the AAA stuff. Gamescom is much more eclectic than that. Being in the more PC-ccentric Europe, GC attracts all manner of weird and wonderful, lesser known stuff from the kinds of developers who just don’t show up at E3. I already have a couple of very interesting meetings booked in with a couple of very interesting stalwart Euro-devs (again, I’m saying nothing until afterwards), and God knows who and what else I’ll find when I’m over there.
All this, and I’m going to be fuelled for an entire week on bratwurst and staunch German beer, so there’s a good chance that my copy is going to get really damn abstract towards the end of the show. Even for me. You don’t want to miss out on that. Join us for Gamescom next week, from Tuesday the 21st of August onwards. It’s going to be great.
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