E3 might be the most high-profile gaming expo of the year, but Gamescom's significance cannot be downplayed. It is, after all, the biggest games event in the world (last year, it drew 275,000 visitors), and with the ever-growing European games market, it's an important event for game companies.
Unlike E3, Gamescom is also open to the general public, and since it takes place between E3 and the busy holiday season, Gamescom is where most of the upcoming games are playable in their near-final state. With the PS4 and Xbox One getting closer to launch, we can also look forward to some important announcements from both camps.
Gamescom also holds a lot of significance for India, since we fall under the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region for most publishers rather than Asia.
So with that in mind, let's take a look at all the major developments we can expect out of Cologne, Germany from 21st to 25th August:
PS4 and Xbox One release dates
We know that the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will release during the holiday season in most markets, but we should get concrete release dates from both Sony and Microsoft at Gamescom, at least for the EMEA markets. Perhaps, that will be followed by a PS4 price announcement from Sony India. May be even another change of heart from Microsoft, bringing forward the Asian release for the Xbox One from late 2014.
The Xbox press conference returns
Microsoft abstained from hosting a press conference at Gamescom last year, but with the Xbox One around the corner, no one expected a repeat this year. Microsoft's press conference will be held on 20th August, and we think it's likely that we'll see a few of those unnamed 15 Xbox One exclusive games that are said to be in development.
Next-gen consoles will take centre-stage at Gamescom
Strong PS4 focus from Sony
Sony has already said that it will focus its Gamescom presence on the PS4, and while that's a little disappointing from a PS Vita perspective, it's good to see Sony being aggressive in the home console space and not just banking on the Xbox One's negative press. We'll probably see a lot of new stuff from games that have already been revealed, and you can bet there will be new announcements as well.
Details on Xbox self-publishing
It appears Game Informer got the news out about self-publishing on Xbox One sooner than Microsoft would have liked, so the details that are available so far are quite sketchy. Microsoft did, however, say that it will go into more detail with regards to self-publishing at Gamescom, so indie game fans and developers should play close attention to Microsoft's pres conference.
Blizzard is set to host a press conference on the first day of Gamescom, where it is set to make a special announcement that's sure to capture the attention of the Heavens, Burning Hells and all the shadowed places that lie between”. Diablo III, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and World of Warcraft, and like last year, Blizzard is also likely to host live raids, concerts, contests, and more at the show.
Rockstar Games presence
You don't often see Rockstar Games at trade shows and conventions. There was plenty of speculation that it would attend Gamescom last year after Grand Theft Auto V appeared in even promotion videos, but it didn't quite happen. This year, however, Rockstar is listed as an exhibitor on the official Gamescom website. We think it's unlikely that visitors will be able to just walk up to the booth and play GTA V, but we could see a lot more revealed at the event. Perhaps, a multiplayer reveal?
FIFA 14 and PES 2014 fleshed out
Gamescom is where both EA and Konami really get aggressive with their respective football franchises, and this year should be no different. Konami will be keen to show off what its new game engine brings to the PES franchise, which, after a few years of lagging far behind FIFA, is slowly clawing its way back. EA, on the other hand, will have to once again come out and solidify its dominance amid a couple of not-so-glowing previews. We should also see a lot more of next-gen FIFA 14 at Gamescom.
Another new next-gen IP from Ubisoft
Ubisoft won't be hosting a press conference at Gamescom, but it has announced its line-up, which is predominantly next-gen. Included are games we saw at E3 – Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Watch Dogs, The Crew, and The Division, but the publisher is also promising the reveal of another new IP. If those four are anything to go by, we can't wait. It would also be nice to know what became of Rainbow Six: Patriots.
An announcement from Valve?
We had to end this off with an absolute wild card. Valve will be present at Gamescom this year, but they've been there before. The company has been disconcertingly (for us) quiet since the release of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, aside from DOTA 2 updates, so it's about time we heard something from Gabe and Co. Half-Life 2: Episode 3? Half-Life 3? Left 4 Dead 3? A new IP? We don't care; just give us something!
Sign up for the free MCV India newsletterhere.