MCV’s Gamescom Survival Guide

The gigantic games trade fair is about to return – and industry figures worldwide are preparing for the delights (and horrors) it’s sure to bring.

MCV asked Gamescom veterans for the low-down on Cologne


Last time I went out it was based in Leipzig. Anything that isn’t that is an advance. (Leon Hurley, Kotaku UK)

This is only my third year so I haven’t seen a huge amount of evolution, except in my own ability to cope with the mania and pace myself. (Cue a day one collapse this year.) (Joel Gregory, GamesMaster)

I have always thought the event is very well structured. However, when it was held in Leipzig, I have it on good authority that it smelt of shit. (Simon Miller,

I’ve been a couple of times, and it seems to get huger each time. It’s a million times better than Leipzig, though, which remains the most depressing conference I’ve ever attended. It was like going to a convention in City 17. (Jon Hicks, OXM)

It’s been great to see it evolve to include street festivals and special events; seeing the event burst out of the conference halls and spread throughout the city over the past couple of years is great for the industry. (Darren Cairns, Green Man Gaming)

The biggest change I’ve noticed is how much League of Legends is kind of taking over. The LoL Championship Series dominated the Saturday and Sunday of last year’s show. Maybe this year it’ll just have its own dedicated hall. Judging by the amount of fans it has, it could definitely fill it. (Lucy James, GameSpot UK)

It’s gotten a little busier, but the vast halls of the Koelnmesse, rushing to get everything done on the press days before the public swarms in, and getting horribly drunk at the Irish bar in the evenings remains the same. (Mark Walton, GameSpot UK)

It has evolved from a plucky and endearingly disorganised event in Leipzig to a big, slick Cologne consumer show with thousands of people crammed sweatily into halls bigger than the LACC. It’s been amazing to watch. (Keza MacDonald, Kotaku UK)

Whereas before it mainly elaborated on games that debuted at E3, it’s now become a reliable destination for headline reveals and surprises, making it an essential date on the gaming calendar. (Matthew Reynolds, Digital Spy)


If you want to have a look around the consumer hall, be prepared that the scale of the area is huge and there are REALLY big crowds. Take comfy shoes, drink lots of water and leave plenty of time to get around. (Stefan McGarry, Sega)

Pack a bag full of meal replacement bars, as you will not have time to eat, and rely on PRs – they’re the ones who will have a quiet space for you to sit, recharge the batteries, and wonder where it all went wrong. (Joel Gregory, GamesMaster)

Check appointment locations. I once had a show where every slot was at opposite ends of the conference hall, back-to-back with no gaps. Three days later I had a panic attack in a Battlefield demo and passed out in the corridor where a security guard woke me up with gentle kicking. (Leon Hurley, Kotaku UK)

Understand that if you book an apartment on Adolfstrasse it is apparently acceptable for local cab drivers to make inappropriate jokes and for you to laugh nervously. (Cam Robinson, GameSpot UK)

Schedule as much as you can inside the business area. Trying to rush from one hall to another while lugging all your equipment and dodging the masses is pretty much a secret level of Hell that Dante forgot to write about. (Lucy James, GameSpot UK)

If you must indulge in the evil that is Jagermeister, do so with the knowledge that you will make a complete tit of yourself and require a German-speaking PR to bail you out of a potential catastrophe with a gruff bouncer. (Mark Walton, GameSpot UK)

Don’t be vegetarian. Germany is much better at sausage than it is at vegetables. (Jon Hicks, OXM)

Get to the main publisher stands on the first day if you’re trade. As soon as the public get there the queues are worse than Alton Towers. (Robert Lindsay, Games Centre)

Never go to dinner with people who can’t decide on a restaurant within a few minutes. As beautiful as Cologne is, walking around the city for hours when you’re hungry is not fun for anybody. (Simon Miller,

When asking for water, make sure you specify still over sparkling. I continue to make this costly mistake every year. (Matthew Reynolds, Digital Spy)

Arrive at least one day in advance to enjoy a bit of German food – pork knuckles are simply amazing. (Stefano Petrullo, Ubisoft)

Small, cold glasses of beer delivered more frequently wins. In the battle of Koelsch versus Stein, go for Koelsch every time. (Darren Cairns, Green Man Gaming)

Invest in a pair of super comfy shoes, because you will be up and about for the majority of the day and having shoes that feel like sweet kittens snuggling your feet in a blanket of love makes a huge difference. (Jo Twist, UKIE)


I predict Microsoft will elaborate more on services and perhaps new bundles for Xbox One, including that rumoured white console. Sony always reserves some big guns for Gamescom, so I imagine it’ll show new PS4 games from European studios Media Molecule and Guerrilla Games. (Matthew Reynolds, Digital Spy)

Gamescom is not really the show for big reveals – it’s more about getting people excited about what games are coming in the immediate and medium-term future. Still, there’s always the chance for a surprise. (Keza MacDonald, Kotaku UK)

People might abandon the Irish bar and head to the (superior) Spanish bar across the street. Oh, who am I kidding? (Lucy James, GameSpot UK)

I can’t really make any without betraying some confidences or getting slapped with a hefty lawsuit, so how about this: the entire industry will congregate in the Irish bar and refuse to leave, even though it takes 45 minutes to get a drink. (Joel Gregory, GamesMaster)

I predict a riot- Sorry, I predict Riot will be there. (Cam Robinson, GameSpot UK)

I think Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and World of Tanks will have serious presence. As I’m obsessed with it, I also hope that Gears of War makes its triumphant return at this year’s event. (Simon Miller,

Everyone’s expecting Dishonored 2, right? Other than that we expect to see Fallout 4. We always say Half Life 3 but it never happens, so we’ll go with Gears of War 4. (Darren Cairns, Green Man Gaming)

I think we’ll see a piece of hardware (likely a peripheral) priced and dated, the announcement of the resurrection of a beloved franchise and the dates for first-party entertainment titles and services. (Dan Kilby, IGN UK)

A big name reveal for ID@Xbox, Uncharted 4 gameplay and a first-party big name title for Sony’s Project Morpheus. (Leon Hurley, Kotaku UK)

With the latest consoles still in their infancy and the biggest stuff not landing until 2015, this is going to be a tough year for big reveals. Traditionally, Sony is the one to drop a big announcement, but aside from a few new indie games and an update on some positive sales figures for the PS4, I don’t think we’ll see anything that surprising. (Mark Walton, GameSpot UK)

I’m looking forward to seeing more of Quantum Break. I’m also hoping for some slightly more Euro-centric announcements from Microsoft, getting hands-on with everything that wasn’t at E3, and over-consumption of beer and sausage. (Jon Hicks, OXM)


The last night, where everyone cuts loose safe in the knowledge that they don’t have to fight through the crowds at 9am the next morning. (Joel Gregory, GamesMaster)

The retro hall is well worth a few hours of your time, if you’re of a certain age. (Robert Lindsay, Games Centre)

The Koch Media booth. I live on the paninis in that place. (Mark Walton, GameSpot UK)

When you step into that sweet, sweet air-conditioned business area at the end of a long day. (Lucy James, GameSpot UK)

The UK Game of the Show Award. It really helps to showcase the creativity, innovation and talent that we have in the UK. (Jo Twist, UKIE)

There’s something about heading home from a games convention that just feels right. (Simon Miller,

Try the metre-long sausage at the Haxenhaus. It’s a beast. (Stefan McGarry, Sega)

Being able to attend without the crippling jetlag that attends all the US conferences. (Jon Hicks, OXM)

As cheesy as it sounds, seeing how excited consumers get over all the great games our industry has to offer. Also, Currywurst. (Dan Kilby, IGN UK)

About MCV Staff

Check Also

Time is running out for nominations for MCV Women in Games 2023!

Nominations for the MCV Women in Games 2023 awards show will end later this week